LAHORE  - Terming corn a profitable crop for farmers, agricultural experts have advised the farmers to use best quality corn hybrid seeds to increase the production, saying that private sector needs to be encouraged to introduce new seed varieties so that crop’s productivity could be enhanced. 

They said that after the introduction of hybrid maize during the 1990s, farmers have gradually shifted to hybrid maize from traditional/open pollinated varieties (OPVs) as hybrid maize has increased production from a mere 30 maunds/acre to 80-120 maunds/acre. They said that corn crop is highly lucrative for farmers as it has higher per acre yield than other crops.

The experts said that though, after the introduction of hybrid maize in Pakistan, farmers have gradually shifted to high-yielding hybrid maize from traditional or open pollinated varieties (OPVs) but some farmers fail to get the desired production because of use of substandard hybrids and old farming practices. “The adoption of best quality hybrids is also important because the weather patterns are changing and farmers desperately need such seeds as could cope with the harsh weather conditions, fit in changing crop rotations and most importantly provide the much-needed economic benefits to the farmers,” they said.

The agricultural experts said this while interacting with farmers who were visiting the hybrid corn field trial site, which serves as a learning centre for farmers, in Gojra. The field visit of farmers, which was organised by Monsanto Pakistan, was part of company’s ongoing initiatives to educate and guide the corn farmers. Around 500 corn farmers belonging to different area of Punjab, including Faisalabad, Gojra, Deepalpur, Mian Channu, Sahiwal and Okara, participated in the on-field event. Though the major objective of the event was farmers’ education and apprising them of the best agronomic practices, but showcasing the on-field performance of Monsanto’s latest and advanced ‘Deklab’ corn hybrids was also one of the objectives as a large number of Pakistani farmers are using Monsanto’s corn hybrids to get higher yields. Media representatives were also present on the occasion.

During the field visit, Monsanto Commercial and Technology Development teams advised the farmers to select the best quality hybrid corn seeds and use the recommended agronomic practices to take the best, in terms of yield, out of corn hybrids. They also informed the farmers that some of Monsanto’s new corn hybrids perform very well in harsh weather conditions. “Grains of some of Monsanto’s new hybrids are bigger and their resistance against diseases is also high. Also, another advantage is that when the crop fully ripens their leaves remain fresh and green which can be used as fodder for animals,” Monsanto’s representative Atif Majeed told the farmers.

On the occasion, Monsanto Pakistan Regulatory Affairs Lead Muhammad Asim informed the farmers as well as media representatives that at least 8-10 years are needed to develop a corn hybrid, adding that Monsanto, after rigorous testing, brings only those products to Pakistan that fit in our conditions and benefit the farmers. Muhammad Asim said that Monsanto is committed to provide the best quality seeds to the Pakistani farmers. He further said, “Monsanto knows the needs of Pakistani farmers and that is why we always bring those technologies into Pakistan that benefit farmers.” He said that Monsanto would continue to provide farmers the opportunities to learn.

Commending the efforts of Monsanto Pakistan, the farmers said that the event was a very good opportunity for them to learn and understand the technology and provided insight to best agronomic solutions. They hoped that Monsanto would continue to take such initiatives in future.

Terming availability of improved seeds the biggest problem for maize growers, Chaudhry Munir, a farmer from Gojra, said, “I have been using hybrid corn seeds for a long time now. I prefer using hybrid seeds because their yield is very high, grain quality is excellent and most importantly they fetch better price.” Another farmer, Mehmood Numberdar said, “I have been using Monsanto’s seeds for a long time now. I have never had any problem with Monsanto’s seeds. I hope that Monsanto’s new seeds would also be as good as previous ones.”