Maize (bhutta) a CEREAL crop, Zea mays of the family Graminae, order Cyperales. In the
United States and Canada maize is known as corn and is considered as an important cereal
The word maize is derived from the
Arawak Indian word ma-hiz. The Spanish
equivalent, maiz, is still in use in the
Spanish-speaking countries of America.
The plant was domesticated and
cultivated in the Americas long before
the Europeans reached the New World.
Little is known about the origin and
development of the cultivable variety of
maize. It is said that maize was
developed through favourable mutation
of the wild species Zea mexicana.
Subsequently it probably dispersed from Maize
Mexico or Central America, its centre of
origin, to other countries of the world.
Maize is cultivated in several Asian countries including the Philippines, Thailand, China,
India, and Pakistan. In Bangladesh it is cultivated to a limited extent in Kharif and Rabi
seasons. The food prepared from maize is not very familiar to the people of Bangladesh, and
hence its cultivation is not very extensive. In Europe and Americas it is one of the major
food crops. The people of Mexico, Chile, Central America, and East and South Africa make
their principal food items from maize.
The maize plant has a straight pithy noded stalk supported by prop roots. The plant may
attain a length like that of SUGARCANE. The staminate (male) forms the tassel at the top of
the plant. The pistillate (female) flowers are the kernels on the cob, which is enclosed by a
leafy husk beyond which extend threadlike styles and stigmas. The leaves are elongated and
wide and are arranged alternately in two rows. While the upper surface of the leaf bears
minute hairlike spines and appears rough, the ventral side is smooth.
Maize grows well in sandy loam and heavy clay loam type of soils having pH in between
5.5 and 8.5. A temperature in between 12°C and 29°C seems to be favourable for its growth.
Among the high yielding varieties grown in Bangladesh are Savar, JC, DMR, Barnali,
Shuvra, Mohar, Khai Bhutta, and Swan-2. A few hybrid varieties are also cultivated in some
Although maize seeds may have different sizes, shapes and colouration; yellow and white
colouration are most common. The taste of different varieties also varies widely. In 1997-98,
about 6,295 acres of land were under the cultivation of maize in Bangladesh, producing
about 2,650 m tons of grains. Bandarban, Rangamati, Dinajpur, and Rajshahi districts are
the major maize producing areas. Reports of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics show a
gradual decrease of annual production of this crop.
Table Production of maize during 1993/94-1997/98
(acre) (m ton)
1993/94 6710 2785
1994/95 6700 2680
1995/96 6550 2675
1996/97 6570 2695
1997/98 6295 2650
Source Yearbook of Agricultural Statistics of Bangladesh, 1998
Uses A variety of food items are prepared from maize. In fact, it can be used in the same
way as rice and wheat. From maize flour alone or mixed with wheat flour or flour of other
cereals and pulses bread, mixed parota, pulse puri, soup, mixed food, khichuri, bhutta polao
etc are prepared. Immature cobs or seeds can be eaten boiled or fried. Fried mature kernels
are used for making many delicious food items.
Maize is also used as a raw material in different industries for production of starch, asbestos
board, animal feed, cosmetics, biscuits, horlics, cornflex, confectioneries, edible oil etc.
Acetic acid and alcohol are also manufactured from maize.
Pests Several insect pests attack maize in the field. Among these the cutworm (Agrotis
ipsilon), shoot fly (Atherigona sp), stem borer (Sesamia inferens and Chilo partellus), APHID
(Rhopalosiphum maidis), and the pod borer or earworm (Helicoverpa armigera) are
important. In storage, the maize weevil, or the lesser rice weevil (Sitophilus zeamais), and
the rice weevil (S. oryzae) may cause serious damage to the kernels if left unprotected.
Diseases Maize is affected by a number of diseases. Of these the following are important:
Common smut/Gall smut or Boil smut caused by Ustilago maydis produces gall on the ears,
auxiliary buds, tussels, stalks and in rare cases on the leaves. Leaf blight is caused by
Drechlera turcicum. The disease is very common and serious in Bangladesh. Noticeable
symptoms are seen on the leaf, starting as small yellowish, round or elliptical lesions. Leaf
spots caused by Helminthosporium rostratum, H. maydis and H. carbonum show distinct
type of leaf spot diseases. They appear less frequently. Rust of maize caused by Puccinia
sorgii can be seen in the winter crop.
Other diseases of maize include maize downy mildew caused by Sclerospora phillipinensis;
Brown stripe downy mildew caused by Sclerospora rayssiae; Seedling blight and wilt
caused by Fusarium moniliformae; Seedling blight and top rot caused by Gibberella zeae;
Stalk and ear rot caused by Diplodia maydis; Charcoal rot caused by Macrophomina
phaseolina; Bacterial stalk rot caused by Pseudomonas syringae; Bacterial leaf spot caused
by Xanthomonas campestris; and Ear rot caused by Cephalosporium acremonium.
Two major virus diseases of maize, caused by maize dwarf mosaic virus (MDMV) and
maize chlorotic dwarf virus (MCDV) are transmitted by aphid R. maidis and leafhopper
(Graminella nigrifrons) respectively. The later is comparatively more severe.
Collection from The Banglapedia.
Abdur Rab (forhad)
Department of Public Administration.