Working to improve composite high-yielding maize seed: Dir Agri
Post by Syeda Rafiyah on Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Srinagar, Sep 18: The Agriculture Department in Kashmir is working to enhance composite maize variety Shalimar Maize Composite (SMC-7) which is a high-yielding maize seed.
Director Agriculture Kashmir, Chowdhary Mohammad Iqbal said a total of 68,000 hectares of land is under maize cultivation in Kashmir including sweet corn.
Maize is mostly cultivated in the hilly areas like Uri, Tangdar, upper reaches of Kupwara, Ganderbal and now it is also cultivated in low-lying areas in the valley.
The director said that Kashmir needs more composite maize variety. “Over the past two years, we have been working hard to improve the composite variety SMC-7. Last year also, we produced its seed and this year we have doubled its seed,” he said.
Iqbal explained that once the seed is made available, it becomes the foundation seed, and from there, it is taken to the farm fields. He emphasized that for maize cultivation, farmers need to adhere to isolation distances. The seed is grown in designated catchment areas located in Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, and Kupwara.
This initiative aligns with the Holistic Agriculture Development Program, which incorporates a dedicated project focused on improving seed production, particularly for maize.
“We are working for seed multiplication in farms to make the certified seed and further efforts in this regard are on,” he said.
The department has implemented various measures to increase farmers' income through maize production. This year, they anticipate a significant increase in maize production, potentially leading to a bumper harvest.
“We have also introduced sweet corn as a cash crop along with maize. We have been trying hard to increase the maize crop,” the director said.
Maize is used as raw material for the poultry industry. Kashmir produces high-quality maize which is rich in taste especially the yellow colour and people like it.
Over the past several years, the department has been organizing different programs across Kashmir in order to inform farmers to boost maize production.
“In Bijbehara areas farmers have sown maize seed on 5000 kanals of land and similarly farmers in Pahalgam have also grown maize on a large portion of land,” he said.
A senior professor at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Kashmir, said whatever seeds are available in Kashmir come from SKUAST-K. It has a strong research base in place for maize and the centre is one of the best centres in India.
The Department of Agriculture along with all KVKs of the SKUAST-K are important partners in the dissemination of information and outreach programs.
The professor said diseases that affect maize are negligible in Kashmir. He said in traditional maize, there was poor production but SKUAST-K varieties have helped farmers to produce 45-50 quintals of maize in one kanal of land.
“Farmers associated with maize should use more varieties of SKUAST-K. Maize has the potential of next revolution in agriculture. But the only thing is how much famers use our hybrid seed,” he said.