Maize was the first major cereal crop in human civilization to be affected by hybridization. It is the most widely distributed crop of world being grown in diverse seasons and ecologies with highest production and productivity among food cereals. It is grown in about 166 countries occupying 165 mha area with production of more than 800 million tons and productivity of 5.1 tons/ha. It is used worldwide for about 3500 products of different uses as feed (61%), food (17%) and also serves as a source of basic raw material of number of industries (22%) viz., starch, ethanol, oil, alcoholic beverages, food sweeteners, pharma, cosmetics etc. No other cereal can be used in such many ways as maize.
In India maize has higher growth rate among food crops contributing 5% area, 2.4% production to world maize and Rs. 155 billion to Indian agriculture GDP. In India as per the latest report (2010-11), maize area, production and productivity is 8.55 mha, 21.74 mt and 2.54 tons/ha, respectively. The maize production has increased >13 times from a mere 1.73mt (1950-51) to 21.74 mt (2010-11). The demand for maize will touch 42 mt by 2025 as per the trade predictions. Maize is accounting over 9% of the total cereals and occupied third place after rice and wheat. In the World, despite India ranks 4th in both area and production of maize, its productivity is far lower than world average. With increased demand for maize as food, feed and industrial applications, it could become the important cereal in terms of area and production in the next few decades. It is predicted that by 2025, the total global maize demand will exceed the demand for wheat and rice. It is the crop of future as mentioned by the father of the Green Revolution, renowned Nobel laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug.
In India, all most all 28 states growing maize, but 60% of its area concentrated in 6 major states i.e., Andhra Pradesh, Utter Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Maize is grown in wide range of production environments, ranging from the temperate hill zones in Himachal Pradesh in the North to the semi arid desert margins in Rajasthan in the West to the humid tropical zones in Karnataka in the South.
Keeping this in view we are emphasizing on potential breeding strategies by strictly following heterotic groups for enhancement of combining abilities while concentrating on maximization of genetic diversity. We are concentrating on intensive inbred line development with unique features. Objectives of our corn research program are
- Development of high yielding single cross hybrids suitable for both high management and rainfed situations,
- Tolerant to foliar diseases and lodging
- Medium/early maturity for kharif followed by late maturity for Rabi.