West Bengal Agro Industries Corporation eyes maize production hike to cut down on imports
Kolkata: West Bengal Agro Industries Corporation (WBAIC) is emphasising upon augmenting maize production in Bankura district to cut down imports from other states. Three villages under Chhatna block are being projected as model villages for cultivation of maize.
"In 2011, when we had assumed office for the first time under the leadership of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee we used to produce maize which catered to a meagre 3 percent of our domestic demand. Now, we are producing almost 25 percent of our demand. We are working upon increasing the ambit of maize production in Bankura and Purulia districts, said Subhasis Batabyal, Vice-Chairman of WBAIC.
North Bengal districts and Murshidabad have witnessed a boost in maize cultivation in the past few years but Bankura and Purulia with the potential for this crop cultivation has not been given the attention it deserves. Moysona, Santal Mohsana and Chaitan are the three villages under Chhatna block in Bankura where the WBAIC has planned to take up large scale maize cultivation. "Irrigation facilities are reasonably good in these three villages which will help in the initiative," a senior WBAIC said.
Maize is an important component of poultry feed in Bengal, but the state has to import it particularly from Bihar and Karnataka. The WBAIC has already held talks with the Poultry Association and have briefed them about its plans to encourage maize cultivation in those areas in Bankura where rice cultivation has not been as good as desired. Encouraging farmers particularly the marginal ones in alternative cultivation is a major challenge and the state Agriculture department is making serious efforts in this regard.
"Apart from giving infrastructural and monetary support the state government is also ensuring market link production so that the farmers' produce are sold in the market. This will only encourage them to take up alternative cultivation," an official in state Agriculture department said.