Dailekh folks prefer low-protein maize over more nutritious stuff

Dailekh, September 26:

People of Dailekh district prefer white maize, which is not so nutritious, to highly nutritious yellow maize. Why this choice? Because these people believe that the high-class partakes on white maize.

Though the Agriculture Research Station under the Nepal Agriculture Research Council has recommended other maize varieties too, ‘class-conscious’ farmers opt for the cultivation

and consumption of white maize.

Another factor: The yield of white maize is higher than that of the yellow one.

Laxmi Koirala, a senior citizen from Narayan Municipality-3, says she prefers white maize because it looks more attractive than the yellow variety. “Breads made from white maize flour look attractive and taste sweeter,” according to Koirala.

Tula Rana Magar, another farmer from Narayan Municipality-5, Bhaisakhor, says locals prefer Arun I, the improved white variety, because of its colour and high yield. “Thanks to this pull factor, we have been selling seeds of this variety for Rs 20 per kg. Other maize seeds just fetch half this price.”

Tula says locals prefer to grow white maize because of its commercial value. “It symbolises class,” she maintains.

Says Ramesh Dhakal, technical officer at the ARS-Dailekh, “Locals are preferring white maize through participatory variety selection.

“We have released different maize varieties, including Manakamana-I, Manakamana-III, Deuti, Arun I and Arun II, but locals have been preferring white varieties like Arun I and Manakamana I,” he says.

According to Bhola Man Singh Basnet, principal scientist at the National Agriculture Research Centre, “Yellow variety is more nutritious than the white one because it contains vitamin A.”

“We are releasing a new variety of quality protein maize in Dailekh very soon. It contains higher percentage of protein than existing varieties and has two times more lysine and tryptophan, amino acids required for human beings, pigs and poultry, than the existing varieties.”