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The Uttar Pradesh government aims to increase maize production to over 3.2 million tonnes

Worldwide, maize is called the ‘queen of cereals’ due to its high genetic yield potential among cereal crops

With the corn basket fueling ethanol production for petrol blending, Uttar Pradesh aims to increase production to over 3.2 million tonnes (mt) by 2027-28.

Currently, the state’s maize production across the different cropping seasons – kharif, rabi and zaid – is estimated at 2.12 million tonnes spread over 830,000 hectares. The yield has been recorded at nearly 25.49 quintals (100 kg) per hectare, which is lower than the national average.

The state plans to increase corn area by 200,000 hectares and increase production by another 1.1 million tons. This will increase the state’s maize area and production to about 1.03 million hectares (MH) and 3.2 million tonnes respectively.

With robust maize production and a downstream value chain, the government aims to boost the state’s rural economy and support its key roadmap for the trillion-dollar economy.

Recently, the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet approved a maize development program to promote its cultivation in 75 districts by providing additional benefits to farmers and organizing special sessions.

According to a government official, the state will invest nearly Rs 150 crore in various publicity schemes for maize and provide incentives to food processing units.

Corn crop has versatile uses as food, poultry feed and fuel (grain-based ethanol). It is also used in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, textile, paper and alcohol industries. Moreover, it is consumed as value-added foods such as flour, ‘dhokla’, baby corn and popcorn, with growing urbanization and ‘mall culture’ increasing its consumption among the youth.

Maize is the third most important food grain crop in India, after paddy and wheat, and accounts for almost 10 percent of the total food grain production. India is the fifth largest corn producer in the world, accounting for 2.5 percent of global production.

Worldwide, maize is called the ‘queen of cereals’ because of its high genetic yield potential among cereal crops.

The industry has estimated that India will need to increase maize production by 10 million tonnes over the next four-five years to meet demand from the ethanol and poultry sectors.

The state is working on a strategy to promote the basket of unconventional crops, including maize, oilseeds and pulses, to meet expected demand.

The demand for corn is increasing due to growing health awareness. People prefer corn because of its high nutritional value, macronutrients such as starch, fiber, protein, fat, vitamin B complex, carotene and essential minerals such as magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and copper.

First print: March 29, 2024 | 5:06 PM IST