Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 8:45 AM

The Expansion of Rice-maize Systems in Bangladesh.

Stephen Waddington1, Nur E-Elahi1, and Firoza Khatun2. (1) CIMMYT, CIMMYT, PO Box No 6057 Gulshan, Dhaka 1212, BANGLADESH, (2) Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Joydebpur, Gazipur 1701, Bangladesh

Maize is well adapted to the climate and soils of Bangladesh and is now the third most important cereal crop after rice and wheat. Maize-T. Aman (monsoon rice) is the dominant maize cropping pattern. Since the early 1990s, the Bangladesh maize area has increased at an average rate of 20% per year to reach 124000 ha in 2005-06. Around 20000 farm families have received training in modern maize production. Almost all the maize is grown as a high input (hybrid seed, large rates of fertilizer, irrigated) crop during the dry and cool winter Rabi season where it is replacing mostly wheat, chilli, mustard or vegetables, or Boro (irrigated) rice in some areas. Small amounts are planted during the pre-monsoon Kharif-1 season and on hill slopes in eastern Bangladesh during Kharif-2 (monsoon). The estimated national mean grain yield is 5.7 t/ha; among the highest in Asia. Expanding market demand for maize grain from the poultry and fish feed industries ensures the financial returns per ha from Rabi season maize are 2-3 times those of wheat or Boro rice. Other uses of maize are also expanding, including the mixture of maize flour with wheat for flat breads, roast maize cobs, popcorn confectionery, and as cattle fodder. At present, local maize production meets around 40% of current demand (1.2 million t per year) and by 2010 the planted area may reach 200000 ha, producing 1.1 million t of grain. Issues being addressed to ensure high and stable production of maize in Bangladesh include upgrading of the national maize breeding and production research programs, expansion of hybrid seed production capacity in the private and public sectors, farmer training on maize production and utilization, end use and market development, and environmental sustainability concerns with intensive continuous cereal cropping systems.