Crops, More Crops



Maize being the highest yielding cereal crop in the world, is of significant importance for countries like Pakistan, where rapidly increasing population has already out stripped the available food supplies.In Pakistan maize is third important cereal after wheat and rice. Maize accounts for 4.8% of the total cropped area and 3.5% of the value of agricultural output. It is planted on an estimated area of 0.9 million hectare with an annual production of 1.3 million tonnes. The bulk (97%) of the total production come from two major provinces, NWFP, accounting for 57% of the total area and 68% of total production. Punjab contribute 38% acreage with 30% of total maize grain production. Very little maize 2-3% is produced in the province of Sindh and Balochistan. Though not included in Pakistan official statistics maize is an important crop of AJK with about 0.122 million hectare of maize being planted during kharif. Similarly a very growing and high yielding sector of maize, the spring maize area and production in Punjab is not accounted for , which covers around 0.070 million ha with about 050 million tonnes of maize grain being produced.

Area, production and yield of maize in Pakistan.

(000 ha)           (000 tonnes)                 (kg/ha)


1992-93                 868                     1184                         1364

1993-94                 879                     1213                         1380

1994-95                 889                     1288                         1449

1995-96                 880                     1238                         1457

1996-97                 871                     1260                         1446


Source: Pakistan Statistics.


Major Shift in Seasons/Patterns

Since the introduction (1975) of spring maize cultivation in Pakistan there has been gradual increase/shift in planting maize during spring season in the irrigated low land areas of Punjab. The adoption/cultivation of spring maize has specially increased since the active involvement of multinationals in Pakistan. To day the spring maize accounts for 12-15% of the total area planted during kharif and almost 30-35% of the total annual production. An annual increase of 20-25% in maize area during spring has been observed which in mainly because of very good yield levels (6-7 tonnes/ha).

The contribution in yield comes from use of hybrid seed with better crop management inputs.


Year Area (000/ha) Production (000 ton) Yield kg/ha




















Expected Future Trends:

Keeping in view the increased trends in Sugarcane plantation on irrigated land and promotion of oilseeds crop, the area under autumn maize crop will slightly be reduced during autumn season. There has been 0.3-0.4 million hectares of maize area potentially excellent for hybrid maize production. With the increased attention of private seed sector towards autumn maize and growing interest in hybrid plantation by farmers of irrigated plans, the over all production of maize is expected to increase, resulting higher productivity per unit area.

The area under spring maize is expected to increase because of growing concerned incidence of cotton leaf curl virus problem. In Punjab cotton is planted on about 2.0 million hectares more than 70% of the cotton is followed by wheat in traditional rotation. With the introduction of cotton varieties having potential of giving cotton picking till January, the wheat is confronting problems as late planting of wheat greatly effects the yield. Early maturing hybrids now available can fit in the prevailing system. Hence two major reasons for increasing maize area are:

  1. i) The shift from cotton to spring maize because of disease problem.
  2. ii) Extra 1-2 picking of cotton generating extra income compensating upto 30-35% of the total wheat income. In addition maize as additional crop giving at least equal to wheat income.


During the past 20 years, maize research programs have been strengthened at the provincial and federal level. The research infrastructure at the provincial maize experiment stations has been improved thoroughly. Today, viable maize research institute are in place in Yousafwala (Sahiwal). Pirsabak (Nowshera) and NARC (Islamabad). In addition partial research activities are carried out when and where needed i.e. AARI (Faisalalbad), AJK and Bhalwal (Sargodha). More then 70 research scientists in public institutions are directly or indirectly engaged in maize research and a similar number probably participates in disciplinary research related in maize production/improvement.

National Coordination:

The national coordinated maize research system since its establishment in 1975 has played an important role in strengthening the research efforts, exchange of germplasm, information and manpower training of the provincial research system. With this integration a purpose full use of financial and manpower resources have been achieved.

The National Coordinated Maize Programme coordinates PARC’s financial support to the provincial maize research program, including funds for additional staff position, equipment, scientific literature etc. In addition NCMP also provide several services (described below) to the participating members.

Germplasm Development:

National Coordinated Maize Programme organize, acquire and distribute the exotic and local germplasm from different sources and agencies to the maize growers in the country. This germplasm provide source of genetic material to be used for development of varieties and hybrids Upto date NCMP has acquired about 9800 germplasm sources and distributed to various research scientists in the country.

National uniform Maize Trials:

The trials are conducted at various location (25-30) throughout the country both in kharif & spring NARC handles the preparation, distribution and data analysis of these trials and provide opportunity to provincial scientists through travelling workshops to see and observe their genetic material performing under adverse climatic conditions. The best opportunity for scientist to discuss and familiarized themselves with problem and farming system practices outside their domain. Potential of giving cotton picking till January, the wheat is confronting problems as late planting of wheat greatly effects the yield. Early maturing hybrids now available can fit in the prevailing system. Hence two major reasons for increasing maize area during spring are:

  1. i) The shift from cotton to spring maize because of disease problem.
  2. ii) Extra 1-2 picking of cotton generating extra income compensating upto 30-35% of the total wheat income. In addition maize as additional crop giving at least equal to wheat income.

Production Environment:

Approximately 65% of the maize in Pakistan has access to irrigation, the remainder is farmed under strictly rained condition. Eighty four percent of the maize production in Pakistan is concentrated in two principal geographic cluster: 11 districts in NWFP/Northern Punjab and 9 districts in the central Punjab.

Maize in Pakistan is cultivated as a multipurpose food and forage crop, generally by resource poor farmers using marginal land, few purchased inputs, with significant portions of harvest distant for home/farm consumption.

Fertilizer Use in Maize:

Official fertilizer use figures for maize are not specifically recorded by the agricultural statistics services. However, extensive farm level surveys conducted by PARC/CIMMYT in various districts of NWFP and in the central Punjab reveal that approximately 66% of all maize growers now use chemical nitrogen fertilizes (70 kg N/ha) and about 25% use phosphorus (18 kg P/ha).


While mechanization has been widely adopted in Pakistan for certain production operation i.e. land preparation & shelling, the use of tractors in planting, interculture and harvesting has not been optimized. The use of tractor is widespread in low and mid-land altitude area in NWFP and Central Punjab. More than 80% of maize farmers in both areas use mechanical sheller.

Training Manpower:

NCMP has played and still doing the important responsibility of training manpower throughout country. Over the past two decades, the programme has trained 5 Ph. D scientist and have provided short term training (local and abroad) to 165 young scientists, extension workers and interested growers.

Linkage at National and International Levels:

As a service to participating institutions and organization NCMP servers as liaison for national and international agencies engaged in maize research. A very strong link at national level with maize research institutes, Agric. Universities, private seed & processing enterprises, maize growers and with international agencies i.e. CIMMYT, FAO, Regional counties and US Universities is maintained. the exchange of genetic source, research information and visit facilities are major achievements of the coordination efforts.


Although the formal commercial maize seed production system in Pakistan produces limited tonnage of certified seed, the nation public research service have attempted to produced and diffuse the seed of improved varieties through various adhoc seed multiplication campaigns. These campaigns have relied on planting of small demonstration seed multiplication plots on farmers fields. They have been effective in stimulating farmer to farmer distribution of improved seed to some extent.

Pakistan like many developing countries still depends largely on open pollinated varieties based on public seed organizations. Currently both the public and private sector are involved in promoting the seed production system. More recently the individual seed producers and community production/distribution system is being encouraged. These seed growers have been offered serial incentives i.e. door step availability of inputs i.e. pre-basic seed, insecticide, plating machinery etc, the complete disposal of seed with the help of extension agents and frequent consultation by technical staff to solve the confronting and new emerging problems.

The present situation regarding maize seed production and marketing is as follows:

Total seed produced             3175 metric tonnes

Hybrid seed                         2050 ”

QPV’s Seed                        1125 ”

QPV’s Seed


MRI (Sahiwal)                         800 ”

Punjab Seed Corporation         150 ”

CCRI (Pirsabak)                       50 ”

ADA                                      100 ”

NARC                                     15 ”


Total                                    1125 ”

Hybrid Seed

Cargill Pakistan                   850

Rafhan CPC                        400

Pioneer Seeds                     450

ICI Pakistan                        100

MMRI (Yousafwala)              100

CCRI                                    70

Noradas                               80


Total                                   2050

The seed produced by above mentioned agencies and individual seed growers is hardly sufficient to cover 10-15% area under maize, while about 26-30% of the total area is planted to improved seed of advanced generation. The remainder 50-60% is covered by either local or sort of mixture of local within proved germplasm.


The research in Public sector is carried out at three main research institutes, over 95% of the maize area is collectively

located in Punjab and NWFP, which primarily are lowland and mid to-highland ecologies respectively. The work done at the maize and Millet Research Institute Yousafwala (Sahiwal) satisfies the needs of the low land irrigated ecology while Cereal Crop Research Institute, Pirsabak (Nowshera) fulfill the requirements of the mid and highland environments to a great extent. The work carried out at National Agricultural Research Centre, Islamabad mainly covers the research obligations for low-to-midland rained ecologies of the country.

The research efforts so far are concentrated on different aspects of maize improvement to increase the production level of the commodity in Pakistan. The following being the main areas of research concentration:

  1. i) Germplasm development/Populations Improvement:

– White and yellow maize populations with Early, Medium and late maturity are being improved for yield disease drought and density stresses.

– Development of germplasm extra early in maturity for high elevation area.

  1. ii) Hybrid Development

– Investigating heterotic patterns, derivation of inbred lines and testing new combination.

iii) Cost-effective crop

– Evaluation/investigating costmanagement/protection: efficient and with high value cost rattan methodologies/ levels of inputs and practices specially for subsistant maize farming.

  1. iv) On Farm Verification:

– Evaluation/verification of technologies under farmer’s condition partially conducted by the farmer.

Biotic and Abiotic Stresses:

Several biotic and abiotic problem may affect the maize yields depending on many factors i.e. soils, climate and other natural factors. The major and most important stress problem which cause an economic loss to maize crop in Pakistan have been identified as below:


  1. i) Maize stemborer
  2. ii) Stalk rot disease

iii) Leaf blight.


  1. i) Drought and moisture Stress
  2. ii) Water logging

Maize Stem Borer:

Maize stem borer is a single major insect problem which on the average will reduce the yield by about 10-30% under normal conditions. The loss may reach as high as 50% if the crop is

(Photo No.8)

planted earlier and environment is favorable. The economic returns were calculated on the chemical control measure to control the insect. The economic returns were calculated and most effect/ efficient use of these chemicals have been identified and recommended to the farmers.

The growing concern of environmental pollution and increased pricing trend of imported chemical insecticides the research on host plant resistance has been initiated, the main objective of such research activity is to develop germplasm with high level of tolerance for maize stem borer and to make it available to maize breeders to incorporate the desired characteristics in the existing improved maize varieties.

A considerable success has been achieved and germplasm MBR-25 has been identified through series of observation under natural and artificial stresses. The new material has shown a considerable tolerance for the maize stem borer.

Stalk rot disease and leaf blight disease:

Maize stalk rot disease was a serious problem causing economic losses to maize crop. The continuous selection & introgression of tropical brood in the improved major varieties have proved extremely helpful. With these research efforts the presently all of the improved varieties can be grown without confronting any economic damage by the stalk of disease which has been eliminated to a level of nonsignificant existence. Similarly selection and breeding for leaf blight tolerance is a regular feature of research activities.

Drought/moisture stress:

Under normal condition the maize crop yield may be effected upto 10-13%, but during the severe years of drought the loss may increase many folds. The problem is more severe under barani conditions covering an area of 25-30% of major crop planted in the country.


It is estimated that almost 40-50% of the Pakistan maize is consumed on farm, 15-20% is marketed locally and 40% sold in the organized wholesale market. The current utilization break-up as given below:Major distribution of the Total Maize Produced.

Direct human consumption .      0.607 million tones

Poultry feed industry                0.450 ”

Wet milling industry .               0.300 ”

Seed                                      0.075 ”

Miscellaneous                         0.075 ”

Maize being staple food grain of mountainous and sub-mountainous is still used for direct human consumption to the magnitude of approximately 50% of the total production. The other major outlets are the wet-milling industry and livestock feed.

Starch industry:

The maize crop categorized as cereal having 72% starch in the grain. Production of starch is the major objective of wet-milling industry. The two by-products of the process are the assorted feed production and the edible oil. The production of maize oil is then very dependent on the demand for the starch component. The present status and projected potential for the wet-milling of corn in Pakistan is as given below:

  • Current annual utilization of maize in starch industry. = 0.300 million tonnes.
  • Maximum, potential utilization by year 2005 = 0.350 million tonnes.

Feed production:

In addition to edible oil the shortage of animal protein required for human health is an other problem. Maize offers best opportunity for converting vegetable protein into animal protein. The use of maize in poultry and livestock feed industry is restricted because of the availability of other cereal i.e. wheat and rice (broken) comparatively at lower prices. Keeping in view need as well the expected increase in poultry production, the projected demand for maize may be as under:

  • Present use of maize grain for poultry feed production per annum.= 0.450 million tonnes
  • Possible demand for maize grain (if use of wheat and rice banned) = 0.8-1.0 million tonnes.

.M A R K E T I N G:

There has not been a sufficient sure and effective market demand for maize to induce farmers to adopt the new technology. The government very actively procure wheat and rice for distribution. There has always been, and perhaps still is, a psychological fear that harvest of these commodities will be insufficient. Therefore, the only real demand for maize, beyond the producer’s own consumption at home, is a limited quantity which goes into the livestock feed industry and the industrial processing sector. Any increase in production would result in a surplus which would not probably find a market if it did find one, it would be at much lower price. The recent (1997) situation of maize market can be best quoted for explanation of such a situation.

Industrial Use:

Considerations/suggestions of increased industrial use and developing export market are obviously some of the channels through which any surplus would have to move. The competition of products with alternative industrial and food products with in the country and export of raw grain or processed products will have to compete in the world market.

The future role of maize in overall economy of the country must be critically analyzed by the policy markers, not as an isolated problem but in its inter-relationship. with other commodities.


Research Emphasis:

Improved varieties developed through research are available to serve 80% of the area under maize in the country, yet there are some areas i.e. high elevation hilly ecologies which cannot benefit from the finding and products of research, there is need to be paid more attention.

Hybrid Development in Public Sector:

A key issue for public sector maize breeders and seed producers is how to respond to the expansion in private research and seed production, and the best answer would seem to be a national maize improvement strategy that clearly outlines areas of comparative advantage and, possible, collaboration. Should the public sector focus on marginal environments because the private sector can most likely conduct research and seed distribution for the favoured environments. Should public sector researcher continue to develop open pollinated varieties for the irrigated valley and plain. How much support can be provided by the public sector for improving hybrids, and what kind of collaborative arrangements could be made involving, for example, private seed company support for public sector work on inbred lines. These are important matters which will have to be addressed in the as the private sector maize seed industry grows in Pakistan.

Seed Production and Distribution:

In cross pollinated crop like maize, only limited returns will be realized from investment in research if a function maize seed sector is absent. In Pakistan the non-availability of improved seed has been rated a problem number one and has had enormous social costs in terms of limiting productivity.

Improved Marketing

The technology transfer systems has not operated efficiently. Certainly yields could be increased by 25% just by providing the farmers with good seed fertilizer. Such a production increase and growing trends of spring maize with much higher production will make maize farming a more profitable operation. Growth in the organized maize market could increase price instability unless extensive grain storage and market facilities are established.


Since the improved cultivation of many crops and maize in particular is machine oriented. The growing labour shortage and increased input level further aggravates the use of machinery while excellent farm machinery exists but the cost is two high for adoption by farmers and custom tractor operators. Greater availability of such tractor powered equipments offer one of the best strategies for increasing the productivity of maize and many other crops.

Price Incentive Question:

It will be far easier for policy members to justified reliance on domestic maize production if the resources devoted to this crop can be increased. Though higher price can stimulate agricultural production yet do not necessarily improve social welfare. For this to happen, price incentive must be accompanied by the adoption of yield increase. In this way producers benefit because of increased productivity and consumers benefit because of increased supplies & lower real prices. However under present circumstances a minimum government procurement price help the farmers for sure returns to certain level.



Successful maize research and development programmes share common elements. First, they must be able to develop superior maize varieties and hybrids and generate high-yielding technologies that are appropriate in typical farming systems. Second, seed production and distribution systems be in place so that farmers can obtain quality seed of the appropriate varieties at reasonable prices and in timely fashion. Finally the local and national marketing systems for maize must provide sufficient incentives to the farmers for intensifying production.

Maize an Alternate Source of Food Security:

The alarming population growth rate in Pakistan has evidently pronounced the food security problem. Comparing the total increase in human population (3%) in the last two decades and pilferation of grain across the border has not only nullified the increased cereal production but also have urged the nation to import substantial and generally expanding quantities of wheat to supliment the domestic supplies, usually targeted toward urban consumers by spending billions of dollars of precious foreign exchange.

Thus, if the people of this country are to enjoy diets without spending hard currency or credits for food grain specially wheat imports it appears that increased domestic production/utilization of additional cereal in the only solution on term basis.


Because maize has usually played only a minor role in the traditional diet, the public sector/feed industry has spent little resources to explore the possibilities of its use as alternate food source. In some area of the world t/ha maize has become a convenience food for urban consumers. In Costa Rica which had been primarily a wheat consuming country a modern factory producing 1.4 million maize bread (fortified with soybean flour) per day and markets, equivalent amount of maize flour for tortillas making operations suggest that maize breed can replace or supplement wheat bread used in the urban diet.

The early studies at CIMMYT Cereal Quality labs have proved the possibilities to make quite acceptable food products from the stand-point of the consumer, by blending upto 25% of maize flour with wheat flour to produce a wide range of products including leavened bread. A smiler study in Indonesian and a more recent by National Agricultural Research Centre. Pakistan has proved that there has been absolutely no visible difference in taste, texture & color when wheat flour is blended with 5% maize flour. The nutritive analysis of the wheat flour compared to blended flour is given below:

_____________ Protein             Ash             Fat             Crude Fibre

Wheat flour             13.14               1.77             1.0                 2.88

Blended with 5%     13.0                 1.80             1.2                 2.68

maize flour

The addition of maize flour was acceptable upto 20% of maize blended with wheat flour. The nutritional content and nutritional value of the composite bread did not differ from that produced using only what flour. The mixture of maize rather increased the ash & oil content.

With the improved transportation/communication and raised income level, the per capita annual consumption of maize in the country is decreasing by 0.6 kg/capita while the use of wheat as staple food is increasing specially in the for flung hilly areas. This trend in consumption and growing population rate might confront the country with serious food shortage.

The alternate use of maize as blended with wheat flour will not only provide a self dependence in food problems but will also reduce the wheat imports by about 0.5-10 million tones hence saving million of dollars of scarce foreign exchange.

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