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 tones. 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. SPRING MAIZE STATISTICS (1994-98) Year Area (000/ha) Production (000 ton) Yield kg/ha 1994 35 140 4000 1995 41 162 3950 1996 50 248 4960 1997 71 465 6550 1998 73 436 5973 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 overall 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: i) The shift from cotton to spring maize because of disease problem. 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. RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE: 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: i) The shift from cotton to spring maize because of disease problem. 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. CURRENT SEED SITUATION AND COVERAGE BY IMPROVED SEED 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. MAIZE RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT 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: 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. 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. iv) On Farm Verification: - Evaluation/verification of technologies under farmer's condition partially conducted by the farmer.