Maize pushing Dailekh towards food security

Dailekh, September 24:

The Community Based Seed Production (CBSP) under Hill Maize Research Project (HMRP) of International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) has not only helped the traditional farmers adopt new varieties of maize but has proved to be an important contributor to check food shortage in the district.

Though maize is the third major crop in Nepal, it is the main food for people living in many hilly districts of the country.

Dailekh, which used to suffer from food crisis in the past, does not face the problem as bigger as in the past because the district has been witnessing a good harvest of maize, thanks to the production of quality seeds produced by farmers affiliated with CBSP.

Currently six CBSP programmes, three of which are supported by Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC), are running in different parts of the district to produce a large quantity of quality maize seeds.

Tula Rana Magar, president of Sagarmatha Maize Seed Production Group in Bhaisakhor of Narayan Municipality-5, told this daily that the new maize variety released by NARC had increased the production and was also helping improve their economic condition. “Nineteen families from our group are growing Arun-I variety of maize in five hectares of land,” she said, adding: “In previous years, maize produced in our land used to support us for just three months. Now, it supports our family for nine months.”

The CBSP members also provide quality seeds to other farmers to multiply the impact of farming improved maize varieties to achieve food security.

“Due to its high productivity, Arun-I has high demand in the district. We are selling seed of this variety at Rs 20 per kg while the local variety are being sold at Rs 10 per kg,” she added. Her group sold around 2.5 tonnes of seeds last year.

Nirmala Khadka of Basantamala Maize Seed Production Group in Kim Gaun of Narayan Municipality-7 said the harvest of Arun-I variety of maize increased by 35 per cent in the second year.