A new hybrid seed variety of maize has been developed, which has a potential to more than double the crop production in tribal belts of the state has been developed, according to an official at Anand Agriculture University (AAU).
The new variety -- Gujarat Anand Yellow Hybrid Maize-I (GAYHM)-- is suitable for sowings during kharif season under rain fed conditions in North and central Gujarat - a maize growing beltin the state covering tribal areas.
The variety is rich in Lysine (an essential amino acid) and is touted to be a source of rich protein diet for the tribals, who are its major consumers.
"In a first, a hybrid of yellow colour variety maize has been released, which gives 13 per cent higher yield as compared to High Quality Protein Maize-I (HQPM), a hybrid developed at Hissar in Haryana and recommended for Gujarat," AAU Director Research K B Katheria said.
"The average production of maize with pre-dominantly used varieties is around 1,439 kg per hectare, whereas the new hybrid variety GAYHM-I has the potential of up to 4,000 kg per hectare yield," he said.
The new hybrid seed variety of maize has been approved by the state level research council, official sources said.
Gujarat Maize(GM)-II is a predominantly used seed variety in the state, besides HQPM-I.
"As compared to GM-II, the new hybrid has potential to give 24 per cent higher yield. GAYHM-I is an early maturing variety, say between 80-85 days, compared to any other usual variety which takes 100-120 days," Katheria said.
"Lysine, an essential amino acid required for human body, is available up to 2.85 per cent in protein of this maize, which is higher compared to other variety," he said, adding that it is a good source of protein for the tribals.
A cash crop in Gujarat, maize is largely grown by farmers in tribal dominant districts like Sabarkantha, Banaskantha, Panchmahal, Dahod, amongst others.
It is also cultivated in districts like Mehsana, Kheda, Anand, Vadodara and Patan.
The average acreage under maize in Gujarat is pegged at around 4.23 lakh hectares, while annual production of the crop is estimated to be around 6 lakh tonnes, sources said.
"The yellow grain variety of maize is widely used as poultry feed too as its colour is linked to beta-carotene, which potentially can improve directly the yoke quality of the egg," Katheria said.
The new variety was developed by AAU's research station at Godhra. Last year, the agri varsity had released Gujarat Anand White Hybrid Maize-II, to enhance productivity.
"But, compared to white, yellow colour maize is more popular in Gujarat as it has wider application," he said.
"It will first have to pass a few more requisite clearances... It can be made available to the farmers only by next year," Katheria added.