Farmers in char areas of Tanagail are increasingly banking on maize cultivation to earn profits as it is easier and cheaper to grow compared to other crops.
The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) has motivated farmers to use modern cultivation methods, boosting production further. Maize cultivation has become popular in other areas of Tangail as well due to its high demand and good market prices.
This year the target of maize cultivation in the district was 5,500 hectares. However, farmers exceeded the target and cultivated maize on 7,320 hectares.
The production target is 51,700 tonnes. Harvest is still ongoing but the DAE expects the production to exceed the target as well.
The district DAE office is keen on providing the farmers with all kinds of necessary support including regular field visits to provide advice on modern farming methods.
Maize is mostly cultivated in char areas by the Jamuna River of the district’s Bhuapur upazila.
Bhadrashimul, Basudebkul, Borarboyra, Charvarua, Chartarai, Balrampur, Kuthiboyra, Ramail, Nalchia, Jokarchar of Nikrail union, Rulipara, Gobindpur, Rampur, Basalia area of Gabsara union has had a bumper yield of maize this season. Arjuna Union also recorded a bumper crop of maize.
Apart from this, a good harvest of maize has also been recorded in many lands of Mahmudpur, Pakutia, Agdighlia, Daptior of Nagarpur upazila and char areas of Tangail Sadar upazila.
According to farmers, maize cultivation costs about Tk 8,000-10,000 per bigha. They can harvest about Tk 50,000 worth of maize per bigha, making the venture profitable.
Maize cultivation requires less irrigation and fertilizer usage compared to other crops. Due to their higher shelf life, maize can be easily stored for a while after threshing.
Farmer Md Sanwar Hossain of Mushuddi area of Dhanbari upazila has cultivated maize on 5 bigha of land at a cost of Tk 10,000 per bigha.
“The yield has been very good this year. The hybrid varieties of maize seeds can produce over 35 maunds per bigha. The prices are also good,” he said.
Farmer Abul Hossain of the same area said, “I can cultivate maize for a less production cost compared to other crops. Also, maize is less disease prone so I do not have to spend much on pesticides. I cultivated on 4.5 bighas of land and hope to sell maize worth Tk two lakh worth of harvest.
Farmer Nurjahan of Darichandrabari area of the same upazila said, “I cultivated maize on the advice of the agriculture officer. The wholesalers buys straight from the field, so there is no extra transportation cost. I can also use the leaves of the plants for cattle feed and firewood.”
Syed Ali of Gabsara village of Bhuapur upazila said while they get 20 maunds of yields per bigha of paddy, maize yields over 30 maunds for a less amount of production cost.
Tofazzal Hossain of the same area expects to make a fortune due to the unexpected bumper yield he got this season. The farmers are happy with the high market prices.
According to district agriculture officials, there has been a bumper yield of maize in Tangail this season due to favourable weather conditions. Using modern cultivation methods and better-quality seeds has also boosted production.
DAE sources said maize is mostly cultivated on the char lands of Bhuapur, Nagarpur, Kalihati and Sadar upazilas of the district. It is also cultivated in other upazilas on a limited scale.
Agronomist Farhad Ahmed, a writer on agriculture in Tangail, said maize yield has been good due to the favourable weather conditions and no severe natural disasters in the area.
“A bountiful supply may lead to reduced market prices. If that happens, the farmers will not profit much. The prices should be kept stable so the hardworking farmers can benefit,” he said.