From Director's Desk

Dr. Sujay Rakshit Maize is the third most important cereal crop of the country after rice and wheat and is valued as food, feed, fodder and industrial raw material. In view of maize being produced under very diverse ecology in our country, development of high yielding hybrids with in-built resistance and tolerance to diseases, pests and various climatic stresses; and development and fine-tuning of production ecology are our top priorities. During last 10 years, more than 120 hybrids have been developed and released in addition to development of various production technologies.

Maize production has shown a tremendous increase in the country. The growth rate of production of maize since last five years is higher than that of maize in USA and China.The productivity of >4 t/ha in rabi season is catching up with global average productivity of maize. India is now major maize producer after USA, China, Brazil and Argentina. This is largely due to adoption of improved technologies by Indian farmers.

There are tremendous opportunities to further enhance maize production in the country. We will need 65 million tonnes of maize by 2050. This increase in production should preferably come from increase in the productivity rather than the area. The most critical factors to realize this would be enhancement and diversification of germplasm using modern tools and techniques, development of diverse and productive inbreds, development and fine-tuning of resource conservation techniques and to bring down cost of cultivation by enhancing resource use efficiency by maize. India has strategic and geographical advantage over other countries towards supply of maize to international market. This include round-the-year production of maize in our country, low freight charges, well-established seed production and marketing network and availability of sea-port. The demand of speciality maize like sweet corn, pop corn, oil corn and waxy corn is on the increase. Now, more rigorous efforts are being made to fulfill this demand.

More than three-fourth of maize cultivation is under rainfed conditions. This puts a limit on productivity of the crop. The high yielding cultivars are yet to reach to one-third of the farmers. The most productive cultivar type i.e. single cross hybrids (SCHs) are grown on 25-30% of acreage under maize. Timely availability of improved seed is still an issue. Adoption of improved cultivation practices needs to be up-scaled. Institute, in partnership with other stake holders in maize value chain, is constantly striving for excellence in maize research and development to deliver better technologies to farmers and to have a productive, profitable, sustainable and climate resilient maize-based cropping systems.