Berhampur: Maize farming is now a popular agricultural practice in Ganjam district with farmers getting increasingly drawn towards it for various reasons, a report said.
According to a rough estimate, there are over 30,000 families who earn their livelihood from maize cultivation. Farmers are opting for it as the crop requires less water and investment but offers better earnings.
The crop collects its food and required nutrients from the soil for which maize is termed a protein-based food. However, the farmers feel let down as the state does not provide them any incentives for cultivation.
Moreover, lack of marketing facilities has hit them hard which forces the farmers to sell their harvest to the traders in the district and other districts of Odisha. Moreover, the lack of any financial assistance by the state government has disappointed the farmers and sparked resentment among them.
Sources at the office of the chief district agriculture officer said farmers here cultivate mostly indigenous and hybrid varieties of sweet maize which has a high demand in the market. This kharif season, the district agriculture department had set a target of maize cultivation on 37,530 hectare of land while currently cultivation has been undertaken on 31,513 hectare of land in the district.
Among them, maize cultivation has been undertaken on 1405 hectare in Aska block, 825 hectare in Shergad, 1660 hectare in Dharakote, 1945 hectare in Sorada , 1526 hectare in Patrapur, 730 hectare in Chikiti, 345 hectare in Rangeilunda, 3185 hectare in Bhanjanagar, 2068 hectare in Belguntha, 3800 hectare in Jagannathprasad, 2841 hectare in Buguda, 155 hectare in Chhatrapur, 683 hectare in Purusottampur and 2350 hectare in Ganjam block. Similarly, the cultivation has been undertaken on 265 hectare in Hinjilicut, 650 hectare in Digapahandi block, 841 hectare in Sanakhemundi, 515 hectare in Kukudakhandi, 2195 hectare in Khallikote, 1311 hectare in Beguniapada , 773 hectare in Kabisuryanagar and 1405 hectare in Polsara block.
The cultivation is mostly done in Cheramalia and Sanaramachandrapur areas under Aska, Buguda, Ganajam and Birudigad in Rambha area. The farmers here buy maize seeds from various private agencies as the government does take any step to provide them with the seeds.
The farmers spent around Rs 74,250 for maize cultivation on one hectare of land. The farmers get compensation from the crop insurance if they face any loss during cultivation, the chief district agriculture officer Subrat Kumar Sahu said. However, they do not get any compensation if the wild boars or pigeons feed on their crops.
Maize farmers have demanded the state government provide them with quality seeds for cultivation when maize cultivation is increasing in the district.
Farmer Jeetendra Kumar Bisoi of Aska area said they have guarded their standing crops round the clock as there is fear that their crops might get destroyed by wild boars, pigeons or jackals.
However, despite all efforts they are facing crop loss but they do not get any compensation from the government. Moreover, they even have to buy seeds from private agencies at a higher price as the government does not supply them with seeds. He demanded that the state government should make provision for supply of maize seeds like paddy seeds through primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACS).
Seemanchal Nayak, secretary of Rushikulya Rayat Mahasabha said the state government has not made any provision for assistance to the maize farmers for which many maize farmers are suffering and facing losses in their cultivation. He demanded that the state government should provide financial assistance and compensation to the farmers like paddy farmers which will boost the cultivation.