(A SECONDARY STAPLE CROP FOR BANGLADESH)
PROSPECT AND CULTIVATION PRACTICES OF WHITE MAIZE
Dr Md. Jafar Ullah , Dr Md Ali Akbar and Dr M Abu Zaman Sarker
The book reviewed is the outcome of a three-year research project sponsored by the Krishi Gobeshona Foundation (KGF) titled-'Collection, evaluation and introduction of white maize for human consumption in Bangladesh' which was jointly implemented by Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University (SAU), Agrarian Research Foundation (ARF) and Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute (BWMRI). Prof. Dr. Md. Jafar Ullah coordinated the research project.
Maize (in British English) which is also known as corn (in American English) is an ancient crop. The indigenous people in Southern Mexico had started cultivation of this cereal grain nearly ten thousand years back. There are a number of maize types such as, dent corn, flint corn, sweet corn, etc. The distinction between white maize and yellow maize is in their colour of kernels plus some nutritional differences. However, the kernels of white corn are sweet and soft; flour produced from white maize is white and much liked by the consumers.
Maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the world's major cereal crops. In the introductory section of the book, importance of maize has been described. Although maize is mainly traded as a feed crop but it is also consumed as food crop too. With the rising of global population, shrinking of arable lands due to industrialization, climate change impacts, the production and use of maize merits as a staple food crop. In the context of Bangladesh, maize can effectively help in maintaining food self-sufficiency plus food security.
As mentioned in the book, investigators involved in the project had conducted in-depth research on various aspects of maize in different parts of Bangladesh. In total, 49 genotypes collected from home and abroad were tested in different research stations and farmer's fields along with generating production technologies.
Maize contains many vitamins and essential minerals plus fibre. White maize flour could be a very nutritious staple food for the people of Bangladesh. Hence in the conclusion section, emphasis has been given on the extension of while maize cultivation through motivating farmers.
Incorporation of a number of clear images visualizing different steps in maize production has made the book more attractive and useful. In fact, the book is a practical guide for those who might undertake maize research and development in the future.
The book has been creditably edited by Prof. Dr Jamilur Rahman of SAU and published by the Department of Agronomy, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka
The reviewer is a Professor, Department of Agricultural Extension & Information System, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka