Bhutanese Farmers try Hybrid Maize

Hybrid Maize fields at Biru, Samtse
Hybrid Maize fields at Biru, Samtse

In order to enhance maize productivity and contribute to food self sufficiency, the National Maize Program at RNR RDC Wengkhar, DoA MoAF explored the potentials of Hybrid Maize as a spring crop mainly as pre rice in fallow paddy fields. A total of five hybrid maize varieties were introduced from Pioneer Seeds, Hyderabad with supports of the Decentralized Rural Development Project, World Bank – Additional Financing, DoA MOAF (DRDP-WB/AF / Maize Research and Development).

Introduced and evaluated in eight different locations in Chukha, Samtse and Sarpang and Mongar covered some 88 acres with 90 households. Earlier this months, farmers field days and varietal assessments were conducted at Sunkosh, Sadhu Madhu (Chukha), Pemaling and Biru (Samtse). Out of the five varieties, two namely P 3441 and P 3377 showed good performance across all locations. These two varieties on average yielded 1.8 tons/acre (about 64 % higher than the existing varieties in farmer). Apart from higher productivity, farmers preferred the hybrid varieties due to its uniform cob bearing ability, good grain color, good husk cover and less lodging.

P 3441 Hybrid Maize cobs
P 3441 Hybrid Maize cobs

With the good results from the current year’s evaluation, the National Maize Program will be planning in the coming season for expansion of these varieties in pocket areas and also start introduction and testing of hybrids from international Institutions such as CIMMYT (International Centre for Maize and Wheat Research). Further, as part of adaptation to climate change, emphasis will also be given to assessing drought tolerant hybrids. With growing demands for maize grains for industrial and food purposes, the use of hybrid technology could be a way to step up domestic production and enhance maize sufficiency.

–       Dorji Wangchuk, T.B Katwal and Lhap Dorji, RDC Wengkhar   June 2014

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