MAIZE IN NEPAL:
PRODUCTION SYSTEMS, CONSTRAINTS
AND PRIORITIES FOR RESEARCH
Kamal R. Paudyal
Joel K. Ransom
Neeranjan P. Rajbhandari
Roberta V. Gerpacio
Prabhu L Pingali
Maize in Nepal:
Production Systems, Constraints,
and Priorities for Research
Kamal R. Paudyal
Joel K. Ransom
Neeranjan P. Rajbhandari
Roberta V. Gerpacio
Prabhu L. Pingali
The Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) was established in 1991 as an autonomous research
organization under the Nepal agricultural Research Council Act of HMG Nepal. NARC has as its objective
to uplift the socio-economic level of the Nepalese by developing and disseminating technologies that increase
the productivity and sustainability of resources devoted to agriculture. NARC's research programs are carried
out in Agricultural Research Stations located throughout the country and with farmers in their fields.
The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is an internationally funded, non-profit
scientific research and training organization. Headquartered in Mexico, the Center works with agricultural
research institutions worldwide to improve the productivity and sustainability of maize and wheat systems for
poor farmers in developing countries. It is one of the 16 similar centers supported by the Consultative Group
on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The CGIAR comprises over 50 partner countries,
international and regional organizations, and private foundations. It is co-sponsored by the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(World Bank), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP, and the United Nations Environment
The Hill Maize Research Project (HMRP) is a collaborative project between NARC and CIMMYT with
funds provided by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). HMRP was initiated in
January 1999 with the objective of increasing the production and productivity of maize in the hills of Nepal
through the development and dissemination of new maize varieties and crop management practices. The
bulk of the research carried out by the HMPR is conducted in five Agricultural Research Stations ofNARC.
CIMMYT provides technical support and germplasm.
Intensification of Asia's Rainfed Upland Farming System Project
The "Rising Demand for Maize and Intensification ofAsia's Rainfed Upland Farming Systems: Policy Options
for Productivity Enhancement, Environmental Protection and Food Security" project is funded by the
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented under the direct supervision of
the CIMMYT Economics Program. Nepal is one of seven countries China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines,
Thailand and Vietnam where project sponsored research is being carried out.
Copyright 2001 NARC and CIMMYT, Nepal
Correct citation: Paudyal, K.R., J.K. Ransom, N.P. Rajbhandari, K. Adhikari, R.V. Gerpacio and P.L. Pingali.
2001. Maize in Nepal: Production Systems, Constraints, and Priorities for Research. Kathmandu:
NARC and CIMMYT.
CIMMYT National Maize Research Program
P.O.Box 5186, Telephone: (+977-1) 229845/229846 Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal
Kathmandu, Nepal Fax: (+977-1) 229804 Telephone: 056-81001
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail: email@example.com
Maize Agro-Ecologies of Nepal 9
General Topography 9
General Characteristics of Maize Production Agro-ecologies 9
Bio-Physical Environment 10
Institutional Environment 11
Socio-Economic Characteristics 15
Maize Production Trends and Systems 19
Maize Production Trends 19
Maize Production Systems 20
Maize Production Constraints 30
Biotic and Abiotic Constraints 30
Institutional Constraints 31
Information Constraints 31
Input Supply Constraints 31
Other Constraints 32
Priority Constraints for Research 33
Methodology for Identifying Priority Constraints 33
Priority Constraints 34
An Agenda for Maize Research and Development in Nepal 36
Major findings 36
Recommendations for Future Action 36
Table 1: Major characteristics of the surveyed VDCs. 3
Table 2: Advantages and disadvantages of different soil types. 11
Table 3: Average prices of farm inputs and outputs. 13
Table 4: Socio-economic and infrastructural development index 14
Table 5: Ethnic composition of the survey sites. 15
Table 6: Classification of farmers in the community. 16
Table 7: Distribution of population by literacy and education levels. 17
Table 8: Distribution of households by land tenure system. 17
Table 9: Utilization of locally produced maize. 18
Table 10: Distribution of per capital income. 18
Table 11: Poverty levels of sample households. 18
Table 12: Area, production, and yield of maize. 19
Table 13: Food availability and requirement. 20
Table 14: Livestock ownership and average number of livestock per household. 21
Table 15: Distribution of major cropping patterns and cropping intensities. 22
Table 16: Local maize varieties grown in the hills. 25
Table 17: Desirable varietal characteristics for different maize production systems in the hills. 27
Table 18: Average level of input use in maize cultivation 28
Table 19: Maize yields by variety. 29
Table 20: Major diseases and pests in maize fields and stores. 30
Table 21: Priority ranking of major biophysical and institutional maize production constraints. 33
Table 22: Priority problems of maize production. 35
Table 23: Research approaches ranked by likelihood of producing an impact on eliminating
constraints to maize production. 37
Figure 1: Maize crop calendar 24
Figure 2: Demand of maize characteristics in the hills 26
Map 1: Administrative regions and districts where RRA & PRA surveys were conducted. 5
Map 2: Distribution of lowland, midhills, and highhills maize growing environments. 5
Map 3: Long-term mean maximum temperature (degree C) during the 5-month optimal season. 6
Map 4: Long-term total annual rainfall (mm). 6
Map 5: Long-term accumulative rainfall (mm) occurring during the optimal 5-month growing season. 7
Map 6: The month which begins the optimal 5-month growing season based on long-term averages. 7
Map 7: Long-term average three months dry season precipitation (mm). 8
Map 8: Distribution of major soil groups. 8
ADB Agriculture Development Bank
AIC Agricultural Inputs Corporation
APP Agricultural Perspective Plan
APROSC Agricultural Projects Services Center
CDR Central Development Region
CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
CWDR Central and Western Development Region
DADOs District Agricultural Development Offices
DAP Diammonium phosphate
DAS Days after sowing
DOA Department of Agriculture
EDR Eastern Development Region
HMG/N His Majesty's Government/Nepal
IAAS Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences
ICIMOD International Center for Integrated Mountain Development
IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development
JT/JTAs Junior Technician/Junior Technical Assistants
MFWDR Mid and Far-Western Development Region
MoP Muriate of Potash
NARC Nepal Agricultural Research Council
NBL Nepal Bank Limited
NGOs Non-Governmental Organizations
NMRP National Maize Research Program
OPV Open Pollinated Variety
PPCs Plant Protection Chemicals
PPP Purchasing Power Parity
PRA Participatory Rural Appraisal
RBB Rastriya Banijya Bank
RRA Rapid Rural Appraisal
Rs Nepali Rupees
SDC Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
SFDP Small Farmer Development Program
SLC School Leaving Certificate
SMS Subject Matter Specialists
VDCs Village Development Committees
T his report is a summary of Rapid Rural Appraisals (RRAs) conducted in 17 districts and Participatory Rural
Appraisals (PRAs) conducted in five districts of Nepal. Information was collected during September/ October
1999 and April/May 2001 for the RRAs and PRAs, respectively. Altogether there were eight teams that shouldered
the study in 13 hill districts and five terai districts.
We duly acknowledge the painstaking work of the professionals who were involved in the field work and in drafting
the district reports. Special thanks to: Messrs. Gopal Siwakoti, Rishi R. Sharma, Ramjee Khadka, Min N. Paudyal
and Kiran Joshi who led teams of professionals during these surveys and report preparation. Thanks are also due to
Messrs R.B. Katuwal, D.P. Dhakal, U.P. Wagle, N.S. Thakur, C.B. Kunwar, K.K. Misra, R.B. Prasad, B. Shrestha,
S. Malla, Y.N. Ghimire, B.P. Sharma, M.R. Gautam, H.K. Manandhar, G.P. Parajuli, S. Aryal, I. Upadhyaya, B.
Regmi, G.B. Hamal, K.B. Koirala, S.K. Gami, C. Adhikari, T. Rijal, P.Gautam, H.K. Shrestha and M. Ghimire from
the Nepal Agricultural Research Council narcC).
We are thankful to both the Executive Director and Director for Crops and Horticultural Research, Nepal Agricultural
Research Council narcC), for facilitating the study. The District Agricultural Development Officers of the 18
surveyed districts contributed to the study by advising the RRA/PRA teams on survey sites and deputing their field
level staff to work with the teams. Their cooperation is highly appreciated.
We express sincere gratitude to the CIMMYT Economics Program for technical guidance and the CIMMYT-
Nepal office for logistical support. We also acknowledge the editorial review of this document by Ms. S. Kaur,
Finally, this study would not have been successful without the generous help of the concerned VDC officials and the
farmers that spared their time despite their busy schedules. We are thankful to all of them.
Maize cultivation is a way of life for most farmers in the
hills' of Nepal. It is a traditional crop cultivated as food,
feed and fodder on slopping Bari land (rainfed upland)
in the hills. It is grown under rainfed conditions during
the summer (April-August) as a single crop or relayed
with millet later in the season. In the terai, inner-terai,
valleys, and low-lying river basin areas, maize is also
grown in the winter and spring with irrigation.
In 1997/1998, maize was grown on about 800,000 ha
which represent 25% of the total area planted to cereals
in Nepal. In the same period, 1,367,000 tons of maize
were produced, representing about 21% of Nepal's total
cereal production. The proportion of maize area to total
cereals was 30% in the highhills, 40% in the midhills and
about 11% in the terai2. Maize production as a proportion
of total cereal production was 33% for the highhills, 39%
for the midhills and 9% for the terai.
More than two thirds of the maize produced in the midhills
and highhills is used for direct human consumption at the
farm level and the ratio of human consumption to total
production is higher in less accessible areas. In the terai,
less than 50% of the maize is used for human consumption
and a significant part of the production goes to the market.
Maize yields fluctuate seasonally and annually especially in
the hills. Although maize yields increased slightly over the
past five years, there has been very little yield improvement
when compared to nationwide yields 30 years ago. This is
probably due to the expansion of maize cultivation into less
suitable terrain, declining soil fertility, and the sluggish
adoption of improved management practices. While
productivity in the country is almost stagnant, the overall
demand for maize-driven by increased demand for human
consumption and livestock feed- is expected to grow by
4% to 6 % per year over the next 20 years. Thus, Nepal
will have to resort to maize imports in the future ifproductivity
is not increased substantially.
In 1999, the Hill Maize Research Project (HMRP) was
initiated to provide new technologies to farmers to enable
increased and sustainable maize production. The HMRP
is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and
Cooperation (SDC) and implemented by the National
Maize Research Program (NMRP) of the Nepal
Agricultural Research Council narcC), with technical
assistance from the International Maize and Wheat
Improvement Center (CIMMYT). The HMRP addresses
a wide range of technology and technology
dissemination needs from germplasm development and
crop management to post harvest. It focuses on regions
of Nepal where maize is important in terms of area and
diet. The HMRP also supported the Rapid Rural
Appraisals that were carried out for this study.
This study is part of a project3 that promotes sustainable
intensification of maize production systems while
ensuring equitable income growth and improved food
security for poor households that depend on maize. The
project is funded by the International Fund for
Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented
under the direct supervision of the CIMMYT Economics
Program. Nepal is one of seven countries China, India,
Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam -
where the study is being carried out. As most of the
increased demand for maize in Nepal is expected to
come from resource poor farmers in slopping uplands
in the midhills, the project focuses specifically on upland
maize in the midhills.
This report characterizes maize production systems in
Nepal to help the research system develop the required
technology to boost maize production in the country.
The specific objectives of the study are to:
* identify and analyze the physical, biological, and
socio-economic environment in each of the agro-
ecological zones identified for this study;
* identify constraints for increasing maize productivity;
* guide the HMRP on priorities, constraints and the
basic socio-economic conditions of farmers in the
different agro-ecologies so that it can better target
technology development activities; and
* suggest appropriate input, output, marketing, and
research related policies that will enable increased
maize production in each agro-ecology of the country.
1. Hills includes both the midhills and highhills, unless otherwise stated.
2. A definition of these ecological belts is found in the section General Topography.
3. Rising demand for maize and intensification of Asia's rainfed upland farming systems: policy options for productivity enhancement,
environmental protection and food security.
Both primary and secondary sources of information were
used for the study. Secondary information such as
infrastructure and programs were collected from
concerned offices at the central, regional, and district
levels and also from related Village Development
Committee4 (VDC) offices. Most of the data, however,
were generated through Rapid Rural Appraisals (RRAs)
carried out in 46 sites. Additional information was also
gathered through key informants' surveys that included
local leaders, extension personnel, and field observations.
Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs) were conducted
later to collect in-depth information on existing farming
practices, varieties planted, and farmers' demand of
maize characteristics in the different agro-ecologies.
Sample districts were selected through a series of
discussions with NARC and CIMMYT researchers. The
main criteria considered for the selection of the districts
* representation of different agro-ecological and
* representation of districts with different accessibility
* coverage of different maize production seasons; and
* extent of maize cultivation in the districts.
Rapid Rural Appraisals were conducted in 17 districts
representing different administrative regions and maize
growing environments (Map 1). Among the survey
districts, Sankhuwasabha, Sindhupalchok and Bajhang
are in the highhills; Panchthar, Nuwakot, Lamjung,
Baglung, Pyuthan, Salyan, Dailekh, Achham, and Baitadi
are in the midhills; Udayapur and Dang are in the inner-
terai; and Jhapa, Bara and Bardia are in the terai5.
The terai/foot hills, midhill and high-hill environments are
indicated in Map 2. Although these maps accurately
represent elevation bands, they do not indicate whether
the area is cropped or if maize is grown there. For
example, in the river basin, only a narrow strip is cropped
because the steep slopes do not permit cultivation.
With the help of DistrictAgricultural Development Offices
(DADOs) three (VDCs) were selected in each of the
high-hill and mid-hill districts and two VDCs were
selected in each of the terai districts for RRA. The VDCs
were selected in such a way that they represented maize
cultivation practices in the district. At least one remote
VDC with poor access to markets was selected in each
district. The major maize production characteristics of
the selected VDCs are presented in Table 1. In addition
PRAs were conducted in five RRA sites Ranitar of
Panchthar, Simpalkavre of Sindhupalchok, Bhulbhule of
Lamjung, Birpath of Achham and Feta of Bara district.
A PRA was also conducted in Dhunche VDC of
Rasuwa district (which was not included in the RRA) to
capture additional variability in maize production systems
in the highhills.
Macro-level information on population, land use, transport
and communication, input and output prices, major crops,
cropping patterns, and crop calendar were gathered
during meetings held in each VDC. The VDC officials
were then requested to identify people from different
ethnic, socio-economic, and income status representing
different sections of the communities. These individuals
were subsequently included in group interviews.
Survey Too/s andMethods
A standard questionnaire was the primary instrument
for gathering information through the RRAs in all seven
Asian countries collaborating in the project. This
questionnaire was modified for the Nepalese context after
initial testing. The first part of the questionnaire was
dedicated to gathering VDC level information while the
second part was used for group interviews. A common
checklist was also used to collect information through
PRAs for in-depth information on farming systems,
practices, preferences, and problems. Open-ended
questions were put to farmer groups who were
encouraged to discuss them. Researchers provided
guidance during these discussions.
In each VDC, informal interviews were also carried out
with people from different sections of the community
including farmer leaders, traders, teachers, and extension
workers. Farmers' maize fields and grain stores were
frequently visited and discussions were held on farming
practices and production constraints. The findings were
validated through discussions with the village elite, VDC
officials, and knowledgeable persons in the village.
September was considered the best month to collect
maize production and production cost information as most
of the maize is harvested by then. Field visits for the
RRA were initiated during the second week of September
1999 (after the summer harvest) and the fieldwork was
completed by the end of October 1999. The PRAs were
4. VDC is the lowest political/administrative unit.
5. For ease of presenting the results of this study, districts in the inner-terai and terai are referred to as the terai.
Table 1: Major characteristics of the surveyed VDCs.
District & VDCs Maize Varieties Maize % Land Road Acces! Distance to No. of Population
Region Reported Seasons Irrigated Market Household
Sankhuwa- Sitalpati Local & Improved S 65 No 7 km 833 5598
sabha Manakamana Local & Improved S 45 Seasonal 3 km 1237 6084
(EDR-HH) Diding Local & Improved S 50 No 12 km 559 3336
Sindhupal- Sanosirubari Local & Improved S Seasonal 5 km 577 3303
chok Kubinde Local & Improved S Seasonal 5 km 547 277
(CDR-HH) Simpalkavre* Local & Improved S 5 No 25 km 552 2586
Bajhang Hemantabada Local S 18 No 10 km 460 3128
(FWDR-HH) Kotdewa. I ,oca &r Improved S 10 No 3 km 474 3900
Kailash Local S 12 No 9 km 288 1872
Panchthar Ranitar Local S.Sp 3 Seasonal 12 km 1040 6057
(EDR-MH) Phidim Iocal & Improved S Sp 29 Seasonal In VDC 940 5266
Panchami Local S.Sp 32 Seasonal In VDC 2038 9749
Nuwakot Tupche Local, Improved & S.Sp 6 Black top In VDC 971 5517
(CDR-MH) Deurali Local & Improved S.Sp Seasonal 10 km 743 3842
(CDR-MH) Khadgabhanja Local, Improved & S,Sp 7 Black top In VDC 1105 5986
Lamjung Bhulbhule* Local & Improved S.Sp 1 No 25 km 610 3090
(WDR-MH) Baglungpani Local & Improved SSp 11 No 12 km 519 2671
Bhotendar Local & Improved S.Sp 40 Black top In VDC 630 3505
Baglung Dhamja Local & Improved S 18 No 15 km 43 3236
(WDR-MH) Bihn I ocaal & Improved S Sp 12 No 10 km 1154 10000
Pala I ocal & Improved S Sn 33 Seasonal 5 km 648 4412
Pyuthan Okharkot 1 noe1 & Improved S 17 Se nanl -751 4754
(MWDR-MH) Bangesal I local & Improved SSp 33 Gravel 2 km 599 3728
Bhingri 1 oeal & Improved S 31 Gravel In VDC 870 4922
Salyan Khalanga Loal 1& Improved S 25 Gravel In VDC 990 5776
(MWDR-MH) RSinwataknra I oen1 & Improved 10 N 5km 560 3250
Dhnnnhano g T nn1 M & Improved S 13 Senasnal In VDC 705 3904
Dailekh Toli T onal & Improved S 6 Nn 20km 399 2493
(MWDR-MH) KWlhhairnh I nenl & Improved S 9 No km 713 37R7
)nandparaniJ T nI onl & Improved S Sp 6 Sennanal In VDC 72R 432&
Achham Bayala I nrI l S 5A Nn In VrD 411 355
(FWDR-MH) DlakuI 1 nal 1 Nn kmn ?64 1048
TrpIth* I nr-1 1 1 n 70 km n00 n 070
Baitadi lahimandn I n- 1 R nnl n V1 r ji7 tj
(FWDR-MH) Ginikhol I or1 nl 0 e s.nal 5 km 600 0171
h ihArplr T nr-1 1*5 I onnnl 10 l'm A(6 IR tR
Jhapa Topgachi Local, Improved & S,W,Sp Black top In VDC 4500 23290
r(EDRmni -- noXR Imprno r- -,- --p 1 km -;oo 1- -;(19
Udayapur -K ta----- l & Improd T SSp- --60-- -G ael In nDC -2375;- 200
Bara eta* Impre'ed & Hybrid SWSp P-Back tQp -. In LDC 1000 501Q
Dang R la ri ur Loal & Impr roed -S-- 4- a avel In VDC 1-.6400Q-- -U
(MW3LDR IT) Chailbhi I-Ipro:ed- S S Black top -In 'DC -2000- I2326
Bardiya -Sanuhree Lol & Improed -4 S Sa1onal -- In LDC 226-- 1 54
WDR T aira--- Local & 1Imro ed -S---60-- -Gravel -- --12 ---6468--
EDR= Eastern Development Region, CDR= Central Development Region, WDR= Western Development Region,
MWDR= Mid-Western Development Region, FWDR= Far-Western Development Region, HH= Highhills,
MH= Midhills, IT= Innerterai, T = Terai, Sp= Spring, S=Summer, W= Winter.
* PRAs were conducted in these sites and in one site in Rasuwa district, which was not included in the RRA.
conducted during April-June 2001 to supplement the
RRA data and to gain an in-depth understanding of
farming systems, practices, and problems.
Data Ana/ysis and Presentation6.
The findings of the RRA survey were summarized by
districts and presented during the Third Planning Meeting
of the HMRP7 that was attended by senior NARC
scientists engaged in maize development in different parts
of the country. The maize production agro-ecologies were
re-defined as per the suggestion of the participants into
five8 and the results summarized accordingly.
The information gathered was used for the
characterization of maize production systems,
identification of priority constraints and setting an agenda
for maize research and development (R&D) in Nepal.
Details on the approach and methodology used for
identification of priority constraints and setting an agenda
for maize R&D are presented in subsequent sections.
The study is based on information collected through RRAs
and PRAs conducted during visits to selected VDCs in
thirteen hill districts and five terai districts. No detailed
household level information was collected. As the data
have not been analyzed statistically, no probability can
be attached to the data presented.
Since farmers in rural Nepal rarely keep records of
farming activities, the reliability and accuracy of the data
depends heavily on a farmer's ability to recall information
and inconsistencies and memory bias could have crept
into their responses. Such biases are, however, minimized
by allowing farmers to discuss the matters in groups,
such that even though one or two farmers could not recall
the relevant information correctly, a fairly accurate
description of the desired information could be produced
The paucity of VDC level data in remote areas was
another problem encountered by the study team. In these
cases, the number of households by ethnic group, average
literacy rate, total cultivated area, and average farm size
were estimated through discussions with VDC officials
and other local knowledgeable persons.
The broad classification of districts into highhills, midhills
and terai by the Nepalese government are followed in
this study. However, the classification of the districts into
those ecological belts is sometimes arbitrary, as a district
may not have similar elevation and topography in all of
its physical area. Part of a district classified as highhills
might have a significant area of midhills and vice versa.
Therefore, the characterization and recommendations
made for the agro-ecologies are indicative only, and may
not necessarily represent the entire district in a specific
6. The data presented in this report were generated through RRA/PRA surveys, unless otherwise stated.
7. 11-14 December 2000.
8. 1- midhills of the eastern development region, 2- midhills of central and western development regions, 3- midhills of mid-western and
far-western development regions, 4- terai and inner-terai and 5- highhills.
Map I. Adnmlnitrative rc-ionr and district whr r R & A & RA survy s wvrvt comduictd
Far Wtstern 11id Wtr Ieri H ern (Ctn url Elsitrn
7/ Larr-ung Nuwakao
/ Ras ,w'a / Panchthar
-) / Sindhapalrhok
4 / San 'kh uwasabha
Map 2. Dimirihu ion of lowland i red midhill (blui) and highhills (rllvir 11111 ni, i/ rci1ill environtieflns.
Map 3. Long-lerm menu maximum irmpermture (degrees C) during the 5-month optimal wac i-
N mmt mm A Im
Afilt an as a Sai
Map 4, Long-trm tolal atnlual rainfall (mm).
~Q~jp!~I U ze m rrU
'aI wis S a
Ilzli 5. I.nlmgrneln *I t .u miulathi rrifallU fimitl tcciurring during the oplimal 5-rmnlh growing stiwsri-
Mas i" a sMa man 6M
MIm I I 1 ai w I -
m lwU asNm IraT muN
Ilap 6~ The month whih IwHinr the oethmii l 5-month grown g season based on long-tirm average.
.. ... m.l
1lip 7, Long-t"rm a cr iae Ihree monnith dr% sresun j cirer|ipitiaim ilmi.
I : l IRA ) I O I
1 I Ic I a i2
SM a aIlf mn 3aB
lap) EDhl ribul luil ofC m j i fr il rciup%.
Cra ma cI
Maize Agro-Ecologies of Nepal
Topographically, Nepal is broadly divided into three east
west running ecological belts: the terai in the south along
the border with India, the midhills in the center, and the
highhills in the north along the boarder with Tibet, China.
The terai consists of flat land that extends from the Indo-
Gangatic plains and lies up to 800 m. The midhills are in
the range of 800 m and 1,800 m and comprise steeply
sloped lands with many small valleys. The highhills, which
lie above 1,800 m 9, are steep sloped snowy mountains
with few valleys. These three ecological belts constitute
35%, 42%, and 23% respectively, of Nepal's total
geographical area (147,480 sq. km).
Only about 16% of Nepal's total land area is cultivated.
Of this, the terai, where 38% of the land area is
cultivated, is the most important. Maize is the third most
important crop here after paddy and wheat. The second
most important agricultural land area is the midhills
where 15% of land is cultivated. Maize, followed by
paddy and wheat are the most important crops grown
in this belt. In the highhills where only about 4% of the
land is cultivated, livestock rather than crops play an
Maize is cultivated in very diverse environments in
Nepal10. The field survey reflected enormous diversity
among different maize production systems, regionally,
seasonally, and from one micro climatic zone to another.
Even at the VDC level, there are considerable variability
in soils, temperature, and rainfall, particularly in the hills.
General Characteristics of
Maize Production Agro-ecologies
The five maize production agro-ecologies mentioned
earlier are used in the study: the midhills in the eastern
development region, midhills in the central and western
development regions, midhills in the mid-western and far-
western development regions, all of the terai and all of
the high hills. While there may be some overlap between
agro-ecologies and variations in the importance and use
of maize and cropping practices, these agro-ecologies
serve as a useful framework in which appropriate
technologies can be developed and recommended. The
major characteristics of these agro-ecologies are
Eastern midhll7s (Agro-eco/ogy- 1
This agro-ecology comprises the area between 800 to
1800 m in the eastern development region. Maize is
planted on sloping Bari land with pre-monsoon rains and
is usually relayed with millet, potato, and other crops,
and harvested before the end of the monsoon rains. There
is limited scope for winter crops due to limited rainfall
during winter1". Except for areas near major cities
farmers have limited access to roads and markets. In
some areas, farmers walk up to 25 km to reach the
nearest market. Maize is the principal food crop and is
primarily used for home consumption. Maize is not a
significant source of cash although it can be bartered or
used for payment of farm laborers. Trade in maize is
largely localized to the VDC. Ruminants are an
important component of the farming system and provide
milk, meat, animal traction, and manure. The average
farm size is about 0.55 ha and family members carry out
most farm operations. Women head around 22% of
households as men go out to work in urban areas, India
or in the Gulf States.
Central and western midhills
This agro-ecology has similar characteristics as agro-
ecology-1 but has better road and market infrastructure
that facilitates the cultivation of high value crops such
as vegetables. There are more and wider valleys, which
includes Kathmandu (capital city) and Pokhara. Relay
millet and soybean are more important here than in the
eastern midhills, although the cultivation of millet is
declining (largely a consequence of the labour intensive
nature of millet cultivation and the shortage of labour
from young people leaving the countryside in search of
employment elsewhere). Average farm size is 0.70 ha
per household and livestock is an integral part of the
farming system. Maize is the major staple with as much
as 59% of total production consumed as human food.
Because livestock products, including milk and meat,
are the main sources of cash income, about 34% of
maize production is fed to animals.
9. Maize is rarely grown above 2500 m altitude.
10. The area under major maize production systems is presented in Annex-1.
11. Less than 200 mm winter rainfall during the months of November to March.
Mid-wester and far-western midh/lls
This agro-ecology comprises the area between 800 to 1800
m in elevation in the mid-western and far-western
development regions. The physical environment is similar
in many ways to the mid-hill ecologies mentioned above,
except that the monsoon rains begin about one month later
and there is enough precipitation for winter cropping2.
The maize-wheat system predominates as the area under
maize-millet relay decreases as one moves westward.
Access to roads and markets is poor with roads often
accessible only in winter. Maize and wheat both play an
important role in the food security of the farm family.
Maize is used almost exclusively for human consumption
and is commonly prepared as Roti (homemade bread).
Women head about 14% of households as adult males
leave to find work in other parts of Nepal or India. The
average farm size is about 0.75 ha and family members
carry out most farm operations.
Teral, inner-feral, and foothills
This agro-ecology is located in the lowlands of the terai,
inner-terai and valleys below 800 m. Since a significant
proportion of the land here can be irrigated, it has greater
potential for productivity growth13. Khet land maize is
planted in winter or spring in rotation with rice, while Bari14
land maize is planted in the summer in rotation with mustard
or other cash crops. For the most part, farmers have
easy access to markets and roads. Fertilizers and to a
lesser extent hybrid maize seeds are used. Maize is used
for food and feed and is also an important cash crop. The
average farm size is over one ha.
The high hills agro-ecology comprises maize producing
areas between 1800 m and 2500 m. Maize is generally
planted during the pre-monsoon rains and because of
the cool temperatures requires 6 to 8 months to mature.
Maize is grown either as a single crop or in rotation with
potatoes. In higher altitudes, three crops are grown in
two years under maize based cropping systems15.
Vegetables are cultivated as cash crops in a few areas
with access to markets. Generally, however, the high
hills are quite remote and access to markets and roads is
limited. Maize is the principal food crop and is primarily
used for home consumption.
Since Nepal is a relatively small country its topography
is a much more important determinant of climate than
attitude or longitude. In general, there are three thermally
similar zones: the lowlands, the midhills and the highhills
(Map 2). The lowland is located in the terai and valleys.
The midhills form a band that runs through the center of
the country, which is more or less parallel to the northern
and southern borders of the country. The high hills are
extensions of the midhills and are widely dispersed. They
tend to be isolated pockets and rarely form a large
On average the midhills are 5 to 8 degrees cooler than
the terai and 3 to 8 degrees warmer than the high hills
(Map 3). The rate of plant development, the incidence
of diseases, and the life cycle of insect pests are largely
governed by temperature. Plants develop more rapidly
in the lowlands compared to the midhills and develop
more rapidly in the midhills than the highhills. Furthermore,
turcicum blight is most problematic in cooler
environments and conversely insect pests, whose rate
of reproduction is correlated with temperature, are most
problematic in the lowlands and least problematic in the
highhills. In the terai/inner-terai and foothills, temperatures
during the winter months allow the growth of a maize
crop with irrigation.
Rainfall amount is not correlated to elevation and generally
does not constrain maize production during the summer
season. The eastern, far-western and mid-western
development regions of Nepal receive similar amounts
of total annual rainfall. The central and western
development regions receive considerably more rainfall
than the other regions, with some locations in Kaski district
receiving more than 5 m of rainfall annually (Map 4).
Most rainfall occurs during the summer months when
temperatures are also favorable for maize growth.
Except for isolated areas in Dhankuta and Terhathum
districts in eastern Nepal and some areas in the far-
western regions, rainfall does not constrain maize
production during a typical cropping season (Map 5).
12. More than 200 mm winter rainfall.
13. This domain needs to be sub-divided to adequately address the environmental variability that results from physiography and divergent planting
dates. However, for the purpose of this paper the broader classification will be retained.
14. Khet is irrigated low land (rice field) and Bari is rainfed upland.
15. Maize (February/March to September/October) or potato (February/March to July/August) wheat (October/November to May/June) finger
millet (May/June to November/December).
The start of the summer rains varies with location. The
hills of the eastern and central development regions
receive rainfall approximately one month before the terai
and the hills of the mid-western and far-western
development regions of the country (Map 6).
The far-western development region receives
considerably more rainfall during the three driest months
of the year (Map 7). The significant fall/winter rainfall
in the far and mid-western development regions probably
explains why the maize-wheat cropping system
predominates in these regions but not elsewhere in the
country. Similarly, the maize-millet systems, common
throughout the midhills of the eastern half of the country,
can exploit the late season moisture, as maize is generally
harvested before the end of the rainy season but millet
continue to develop until the cessation of rain.
At the macro level there are very few soil groups in
Nepal. In the non-maize cropped highhills, soils are
classified as either glacial or lithosols (shallow, rocky
soils). In the midhills soils are broadly classified as
cambisols. These soils are geologically young soils which
do not have well defined soil horizons. The soils in the
terai are of alluvial origin and are classified as either
regosols (high sand content) or fluvisols (limited sand
content). Although this broad classification system (Map
8) provides insight into the age, origin, and certain broad
soil characteristics, it does not provide information as to
how these soils should be managed. Furthermore, it does
not capture the extensive variation that can exist in soil
characteristics at a more local level. Soils within a VDC,
for example, can vary considerably from farm to farm
and even within a farm depending on the local parent
material of the soil, the amount of erosion that has
occurred, and the location of the field within the
Farmers often describe soils in their field by texture and
color. In most VDCs visited in the hills, clay-loam, sandy-
loam and silty-loam soils are the major textures reported
by farmers. In terms of color, brown and gray were most
commonly reported in the Bari land. Black soil was
reported to be prevalent in some patches, especially in
Khet lands. Similarly, red soil was reported in patches in
high-altitude Bari lands. White and yellow soils were
rarely reported. In the terai, mostly sandy loam and loam
types of soils were reported. In addition, clay soils were
reported in survey VDCs in Jhapa (terai) and Udayapur
(inner-terai) districts (both in the eastern region).
Farmers reported black clay as the most fertile soil.
However, this soil is not suitable for maize cultivation
except in drier years, as it holds water longer than other
soil types and tends to waterlog. Land preparation is
difficult in clay soils, especially red clay. Brown and gray
colored loams are the most suitable for maize cultivation.
A summary of advantages and disadvantages of common
soils is presented in Table 2.
All development, finance, communication and
administrative related offices are located in the district
headquarters. The responsibility of agricultural extension
rests with the District Agriculture Development Offices
(DADOs) and service centers/sub-centers under them.
Each service center is responsible for providing
agricultural services to two to seven VDCs. Difficult
access in most of the hill districts, large areas to be
covered and the lack of resources, makes it difficult for
JT/JTAs to provide technical services to all of the VDCs
to which they are assigned. Several NGOs also are
involved in providing technological information and
Table 2: Advantages and disadvantages of different soil types.
Soil Type Advantage Disadvantage
Black Clay High Productivity Difficult to plow
(Good for rice) Yield declines if rainfall is high
Red Clay Medium Productivity Difficult to plow
Yield declines if rainfall is high
Brown/gray loam High productivity in normal years Yield declines if rainfall is low
Easy to plow
Sandy loam Easy to plow Low Productivity
Yield declines substantially if rainfall is low
Silty loam Medium Productivity Difficult to plow
(Good for orchard)
White/yellow Very low productivity
support to farmers, though their coverage is limited to
smaller areas and specific subjects only.
Cooperatives and Users' Groups
Nepalese farmers help each other at a time of need.
They realize the benefits of working together and
have established formal and informal16 groups.
Informal groups are community based, belong to the
same faith, have specific traditions, and share the
same natural resources. Through the efforts of
governmental and non-governmental organizations
(NGOs), several formal users' groups, producers/
marketing groups, and saving/credit groups have
been organized at the village level.
Among the survey VDCs in the highhills and midhills,
organized farmers' cooperatives were reported in the
district headquarters only. In the terai, six out of ten
VDCs had cooperatives within them. Some forest,
drinking water, and irrigation users' groups were reported.
Similarly, women's groups have been initiated to raise
the income and increase awareness of their members.
Vegetable and milk producers/ marketing groups are
located in relatively accessible VDCs. District
Agriculture Development Offices have initiated different
commodity groups according to the Agricultural
Perspective Plan (APP) strategy in pocket areas defined
Sources of Inputs
The Agricultural Inputs Corporation (AIC), a public sector
undertaking, was the only institution marketing fertilizers
until a few years ago, when its monopoly ceased
following changes in government policy. It was
envisioned that the private sector would step into supply
these inputs, but this has not come to pass. The private
sector does supply inputs to terai districts, but supplies
limited quantities in the eastern and central midhills and
almost none in the mid-western and far-western midhills
and highhills. Some NGOs have been supplying seed,
fertilizer, and plant protection chemicals in some areas
for vegetable cultivation, but not for maize.
Negligible amounts of pesticides are used in maize
production in the midhills and highhills. However, pesticide
use is common among farmers in the central terai. All of
the pesticide used, especially in the terai, is purchased
from agrovets in nearby markets.
Farmers normally select local and advanced generation
open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) maize seeds from the
previous year's production or get them through exchange
with farmers whose maize crop is exceptionally good.
The DADOs and AIC supply limited quantity of improved
OPV maize seeds. The DADO also provides small
amounts of maize and cereal seeds free to progressive
farmers through minikits and for demonstration purposes.
However, this arrangement is not based on farmers'
demand but on the DADO's program. Agrovets supply
a limited amount of hybrids and improved OPV maize
seeds in comparatively accessible areas. Their interest,
however, remains on hybrid seed, which has higher profit
per unit of seed sold.
Farmyard manure is one of the inputs that every
household uses in maize fields. Though farmyard manure
is also used for other crops, the largest part of the manure
is used for maize production.
The Agriculture Development Bank (ADB) is the main
institutional source of agricultural credit. Some borrowing
from ADB was reported in each VDC, though farmers
mentioned that it was difficult to obtain a loan and that
the amount received was much smaller than required
(10-50% of the requirement) in the hills. Farmers often
have to resort to non-institutional sources of credit such
as moneylenders in the village or shopkeepers from
nearby markets at higher interest rates (25-60% per
annum) than the bank (15-21% per annum). Other
commercial banks such as the Nepal Bank Limited and
Rastriya Banijya Bank supply some credit for non-
agricultural purposes. Borrowing from these banks was
negligible in the hills.
The Small Farmer Development Program (SFDP) of
ADB and cooperatives together supply 25-75% of the
agricultural credit in the terai. Agrovets often provide
inputs on short-term credit. In addition, some NGOs and
commercial banks also provide a limited amount of credit
to terai farmers.
Prices of Farm Inputs and Outputs
Fertilizer, pesticides, hybrids and improved OPV
seeds are the main purchased inputs. Manure and
stover are normally not traded. Use of hired labour
is not common in the hills except during peak times.
Most farm operations are done with family and
exchange labour. Payment for labour is often made
in kind17 (Table 3).
16. Formal groups are those that are formally registered and maintain an office, while informal groups are those that are formed by mutual
17. The wage rates reported in Table 3, especially for the mid-western and far-western hills, have been converted to money equivalent by using the
value of the grain that was paid for the labor.
Table 3: Average prices of farm inputs and outputs.
Inputs Eastern Central/western Mid/far-western Terai/Inner-
Midhills Midhills Midhills terai Highhills
DAP 22 21 21 20 20
Urea 11 11 10 8 8
MoP 8 9 11 10
Plant Protection Chemicals
Liquid (Rs/100 ml)a 101 64 100 131 75
Powder (Rs/kg)a 159 28 83 100
Manure (Rs/kg)a 1 1 1
Maize Seeds (Rs/kg)a
Local 17 12 9 16 16
Improved 21 15 21 21
Hybrid 62 92
Male (Rs/person/day)a 37 68 81 80 68
Female (Rs/person/day)a 27 56 63 67 60
Animal (Rs/pair/day)a 175 178 147 172 169
Tractor (Rs/hr)a 353
Land rent (Rs/ha)a 15,563
Irrigation fees (Rs/ha)a 147
Maize grain (Rs/k)a
Farm gate 13 10 8 9 12
Nearest market_ 11 10 10 14
Note: aUS$1 Rs. 68.40 (Sept.-Oct., 1999)
Differences in prices of plant protection chemicals and hybrid maize seeds are due to Jd, !!t ir brands and associated qualities.
Fertilizer prices were similar in all districts except for
minor variations due to different transporting and handling
charges. Wide variations were, however, observed in
pesticide prices. Most farmers in the hills do not know
the types of pesticides to use for specific problems and
simply ask for an appropriate pesticide and pay the price
that is demanded. Farmers in the terai, on the other hand,
buy pesticides at competitive prices as there are several
agrovets operating in the principal markets.
Among the study sites in the hills, use of hybrid maize
seed was recorded in the Nuwakot district of the Central
Development Region where its price was Rs 62 per kg18.
Prices of improved OPV maize seed ranged from Rs 15
to 21 per kg in the survey year in the midhills. In the
highhills, average prices of local and improved maize seed
was recorded at Rs 16 and 21 per kg, respectively. The
large variations in prices were associated with both the
quality and cost of handling the seed. Similarly, the price
of local maize seed ranged from Rs 9 to Rs 17 among
the study sites in the midhills and Rs 16 per kg for the
highhills. Maize seed prices were higher in the eastern
and lower in the western part of the midhills.
Daily wage rates ranged between Rs 37 to Rs 81 for
males and Rs 27 to Rs 63 for females in the midhills. It
was recorded at Rs 68 and Rs 60, respectively for male
and female labour in the highhills. The hiring rate for a
pair of bullocks (including the operator) ranged from
Rs 147 to Rs 178 per day in the midhills and Rs 169 in
the highhills. The variations in wage rates were higher in
highhills compared to midhills. Tractors or similar power
driven machines are not used in the midhills and highhills.
The farm gate price of grain maize ranged from between
Rs 8 and Rs 13 per kg and the prevailing price at the
18. US$1=Rs. 68.40 (September/October 1999)
nearest market ranged between Rs 10 and Rs 13 in the
midhills. Prices were higher in the highhills than the
midhills. Grain prices were normally the same for local,
improved or hybrid maize genotypes.
Among the terai districts, the price of hybrid maize seed
was Rs 92 kg-1, six times higher than local maize seed.
However, the farmgate price fetched by hybrid maize
grain was the same for local and improved OPVs. The
average daily wage for agriculture labor was Rs 80 for
male and Rs 67 for female, a wage difference about Rs
13 per day between males and females. A pair of draft
animals cost Rs 172 per day and rent of a tractor was
Rs 353 per hour (Table 3).
In general, infrastructure includes roads, drinking water,
irrigation facilities, institutions, and other development
activities. As these indicators do not give the full picture
of infrastructure development, a combined index
developed by the International Center for Integrated
Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, is used
in this study to explain infrastructure in the different agro-
ecologies. Critical social and health related information in
addition to the information mentioned above were included
to prepare the combined socio-economic and infrastructure
development indicators. Per capital development budget
allocation was included in the infrastructure category, along
with other standard measures such as density of roads,
health institutions, infant mortality rates, coverage of safe
drinking water, literacy rates, and population per bank and
post office. A total of 18 indicators were used to show
aspects ofsocio-economic, institutional, and infrastructural
development. All 75 districts were ranked according to
this index. Table 4 shows a summary of this index where
the lowest value (mid-western and far-western midhills)
indicates the worst and the highest value (eastern midhills)
indicates the best region in terms of socio-economic and
infrastructure development. The terai and the central and
western midhill ecologies have similar socio-economic and
infrastructure development indices.
Table 4: Socio-economic and infrastructural
1 Eastern mid-hills 0.63
2 Central and western mid-hills 0.61
3 Mid-western and far-western mid-hills 0.24
4 Terai/inner-terai 0.61
5 High-hills 0.30
Source: Calculated based on data from Districts of Nepal.
Indicators ofDevelopment (1997).
19. Most of them were small markets that catered to nearby areas only.
Within the different agro-ecologies variability in the index
is very large in the highhills; the index for the highhills of
mid-western development region is as low as 0.04,
whereas it is 0.87 for the highhills of the western
development region. In the terai agro-ecology, the index
ranges from 0.56 (mid-western development region) to
0.71 (eastern development region), indicating that the
eastern terai has better socio-economic and
A ccessibility Status
All the study districts are connected to the rest of the
country by road, except Bajhang district in the far-
western highhills. A 109 km Khodpe-Chainpur fair
weather road is under construction to connect the
Bajhang district headquarters, out of which Khodpe-
Bitthad 32 km is motorable in winter. The remaining 77
km Bitthad-Chainpur section is expected to be completed
within the next five years.
Road access is far better in the terai than in the hills.
All study VDCs in the terai reported having road
access, while only 3 out of 9 VDCs in the highhills and
17 out of 27 VDCs in the midhills reported having road
access. Accessibility status of VDCs are presented in
Markets and Marketing Practices
None of the VDCs in the highhills reported having
markets. People in these villages walked from 3 to 25
km to reach the nearest market. Eleven of the 27 VDCs
in the midhills reported having a market19 within the
VDC. The average distance to the nearest market for
other VDCs in the midhills ranged from 2 to 25 km. The
study VDCs in the terai have better access to markets
compared to those in the hills. Out of the 10 study VDCs
in the terai, seven have a market. The average distance
to the nearest market for other VDCs in this agro-ecology
was 5 to13 km (Table 1).
The type of market changes substantially as one goes
from east to west Nepal. Periodical (mostly weekly)
markets where agricultural products and livestock are
sold are common in eastern Nepal. The producers and
consumers trade several agricultural and livestock
products among themselves. A barter system also
prevails on a limited scale. In contrast, traders largely
control markets in western Nepal, with trade mainly
between producers to traders, and traders to consumers.
Most farmers in the highhills, eastern midhills and mid-
western and far-western midhills do not sell large
quantities ofmaize. However, smaller quantities are often
brought to market centers to buy other consumables.
Sometimes people buy maize from farmers in their own
or adjoining village. During lean months, many people in
remote hills areas often get maize from larger farmers
as advance payment for labour.
In the terai and highly accessible areas in the central
and western mid-hills, farmers with larger quantities of
maize sell to traders at the farmgate while those with
smaller quantities transport it to traders' shops or godowns
in nearby trading centers. Some winter and spring maize
in accessible areas are sold from the field to contractors
who harvest and transport the maize.
The main source of irrigation water is springs and rivers
in the hills (midhills and highhills). Farmers divert the
water using local materials. Though agency managed
irrigation systems are also reported, their contribution is
low in the hills. In contrast, agency managed irrigation
systems dominate in the terai. Larger canals from
perennial rivers (Kankai in Jhapa, Gandak in Bara, and
Babai in Bardia) and deep tubewells are major sources
of water in these systems. Farmer managed systems
mainly use shallow tubewells and smaller rivers for
irrigation in the terai. The irrigation status of each
surveyed VDCs is presented in Table 1.
Processing and Post-harvest Facilities
Good cobs are selected after the harvest and tied into
bunches (Jhutta) of 2-6 cobs. These bunches are sun
dried for 4-5 days before being placed in Sulis or
Thankros (open stores made of timber or bamboo poles).
The remaining cobs, which are small, immature or partially
diseased, are shelled and stored in Bhakari/Dalos
(bamboo baskets) and used for daily consumption. Maize
is stored in Sulis/Thankros until December or later, when
it is removed, shelled manually, and stored in bamboo
baskets or wooden stores for consumption or sale.
The existence of power-operated maize grinding mills
in the hills depends largely on road access since
transportation cost of diesel by porter can be prohibitive.
All the study VDCs reported having a few water-
operated grinding mills (GCiita ,') in the VDC. Most of
these mills are owned and operated by locals who
charge in kind (5-10% of the grain to be milled) for the
service. Traditional manual grinding stones are also used
in remote villages.
Each of the study VDC in the terai has numerous power-
driven multipurpose mills for grinding maize. People keep
maize in open stores or in traditional stores made ofwood,
mud, or bamboo. Four out of ten VDCs in the terai
reported having power driven corn sellers. Despite that,
the majority of the farmers shell by hand.
Households and Ethnicity
The number of households in the study VDCs varied
from 288 to 1,237 in the highhills, from 264 to 2,038 in
midhills, and 1,000 to 4,500 inthe terai. No specific trends
in the number of households per VDC appear from east
Ethnic grouping is localized. Rai/Limbu are the dominant
ethnic groups in the eastern midhills, while Tamang/
./li ipa and Magar/Gurung together are the dominant
ethnic group in the central/western midhills. Brahmin/
Chhetri is the single largest ethic group in the mid-
western and far western midhills (Table 5). In the terai,
Bialhliii (C /iLii (37%) and terai ethnic groups such
as Tharu, Yadav, Mallah, Kalwar, Teli, Kanu, Dhimal,
Darai, Danuwar and Muslims together (50 %) comprise
the majority of the households.
Table 5: Ethnic composition of the survey sites.
Percentage of Total Households
Agro-ecology Brahmin/ Tamang/ Rai/ Magar / Female Headed
Chhetri Sherpa Limbu Gurung Others Households (%)
1 Eastern midhill 23 8 45 10 14 22
2 Central and western midhill 35 20 1 23 21 11
3 Mid-western and far-western 69 0 0 12 19 14
4 Terai/Inner-terai 37 0 8 5 50 15
5 Highhills 42 22 5 6 25 7
20. Increase in irrigated area has negative impact on summer maize area because it permits substitution of irrigated rice for rainfed maize.
However, it has a positive impact on the winter and spring maize area.
There are more female heads of households in areas
where the Matwalis (other than Brahmin/Chhetri) live.
While this might mean that females are highly regarded
and given more decision power by other communities
compared to Biiii imi, (ICh, ii ,, it also indicates that
more Matwali men go out for employment. This is
supported by the fact that Magar, Gurung, Rai, Limbu
and Thakuri are preferred in the military services both
within and outside Nepal.
At the village level, farmers are categorized as large,
medium, and small based on the amount and quality of
land he or she owns. In the highhills and mid-western
and far-western midhills medium and small farmers were
reported while large, medium, and small farmers were
reported in other agro-ecologies.
The second criterion used to categorize farmers other
sources of income- however, differed from place to
place. In the eastern midhills, farmers were categorized
as those producing cash crops such as large cardamom,
tea, and broom grass and those not producing cash crops.
In the central and western midhills farm households were
categorized as those having or not having income from
outside employment. In the mid-western and far-western
midhills and high hills, the main distinguishing feature was
whether there was earning through temporary jobs outside
the village or not. In the terai, the second criterion used
to categorize farmers was whether they have an off-
farm source of income from cash crops or a business
in technology adoption because they lack resources to
buy seed and fertilizer and are risk averse because of
limited resources; if the new crop fails they have nothing
to eat. In the mid-western/far-westem midhills and
highhills, those who go out to work often come back
with some seeds of improved varieties but the lack of
knowledge of fertilizers and farming practices result in
poor performance and loss of confidence in the variety.
Literacy and Le vel of Education
Average literacy rates are highest in the terai and
lowest in the highhills. In midhills agro-ecologies, literacy
rates are higher in the eastern and central/western mid-
hills than in the mid-western/far-westem mid-hills. This
partly explains the adoption behavior of farmers in the
respective agro-ecologies. Passing the School Leaving
Certificate (SLC) examination is an important indicator
of education level in Nepal. On average about 16% of
the population in the terai passed this level. Only 7% of
people in the highhills attained this level. The survey
results show that a higher proportion of people in the
eastern mid hills (12%) passed the SLC than other
midhills (Table 7). Disparity in educational attainment
is very high in the highhills. Illiteracy is as high as 67%
in the far-western part of this agro-ecology against
about 28% in the east.
While illiteracy is higher among females in the country
as a whole, the situation is worse in the mid-western/
far-western midhills and highhills. Here, the women
interviewed said they had limited involvement in decision-
making on farm activities.
Table 6: Classification of farmers in the community.
Agro-ecology First Criterion Second Criterion
Eastern midhills Large Income from cash-crops
Medium No cash crops
Central and western midhills Large At least one person has off-farm employment
Medium No off-farm employment
Mid-western and far -western Medium At least one person has off-farm employment
midhills Small No off-farm employment
Terai/inner-terai Large Income from cash-crops or a business
Medium No income from cash crops or business
Highhills Medium At least one person has gone out of the village for work
Small No one has gone out for work
Large and medium farmers often lead the community LandHolding and Tenure Systems
towards new technology. Large farmers were early The average farm size is 0.71 ha per household in the
adopters of technology in the terai and central/western highhills and 0.55 to 0.75 ha per household in the different
midhills, whereas medium farmers were early adopters agro-ecologies of the midhills. The average farm size is
in the eastern midhills. Small or poor farmers lag behind larger in the western part of the midhills than in the
Table 7: Distribution of population by literacy and education levels.
Agro-ecology Illiterate (%) Literate but no SLC SLC or higher
(%) education (%)
Eastern midhills 30 58 12
Central and western midhills 38 55 7
Mid-western and far-western midhills 43 47 10
Terai/Inner-terai 30 54 16
Highhills 50 43 7
eastern. In the comparatively newly-settled terai, the maize is fed to animals in accessible areas where poultry
average farm size (1.19 ha/household) is larger than the and dairy industries are established.
highhills and midhills (Table 8). This is one reason that
farming in the terai is more commercialized than other Around 71% of maize is used for direct human
agro-ecologies. consumption in high hills. Similarly, 54 to 73% percent of
maize is used for human consumption in the midhills on
Owners farm the majority of the land. In general, renting average. More maize is used as human food in the
land is more common in the terai than in the hills. Among western parts of the midhills than in the eastern. Contrary
the midhills, renting land for cultivation is more common to the hills, a larger proportion of maize in the terai (about
in the eastern midhills than in central/western and mid- 46%) goes to the market. Only about 27% is consumed
western/far-western midhills. Table 8 shows that as much at home, 15% is used for animal feed, 9% for making
as 52% of households in the eastern midhills cultivate alcohol, and 3% is kept for seed (Table 9). The utilization
rented land, while this practice is negligible in the mid- pattern, however, differs from place to place depending
western/far-western midhills. This is partly attributed to upon the food habits of the people. For example, more
higher opportunity of employment and production of cash maize is used for direct human consumption in Udayapur
crops such as tea and cardamom in the eastern midhills. and Dang (in the inner-terai) than other study sites in the
Table 8: Distribution of households by land tenure system.
Average Percentage of Households
Agro-ecology Farm Size Land Share Fixed rent Land-
(ha/HH) owners croppers payers less Mortgaged
1 Eastern mid-hills 0.55 44 33 19 4 0
2 Central and western mid-hills 0.70 81 16 0 3 0
3 Mid-western and far-western mid-hills 0.75 92 1 5 1 0
4 Terai 1.19 73 15 6 7 1
5 High-hills 0.71 79 11 8 4 0
Very few landless laborers are reported in the highhills
and midhills. A higher proportion of households in the
terai (7%) are landless compared to the highhills and
midhills (Table 8). This is the reason that hired labor is
more common in the terai than in the hills.
Utlization of Maize
Most maize produced in the hills is used for home
consumption21. The proportion, however, varies from place
to place and community to community. For example, more
grain is converted into local drinks by the Matwali (Other
than Brahmin/Chhetri) communities. A larger proportion of
terai. In one survey site in central terai, 95% of maize
production went to the market with the remaining used
for domestic animal feed.
Level of Income and Po very
The average income level in Nepal is one of the lowest
in the world. More than half of the population survives
on less than one dollar per day. Furthermore, the rate
of income growth is lower than that of other South Asian
countries (Nepal South Asia Centre, 1998). The Nepal
Living Standard Survey Report (CBS, 1997) shows that
urban income levels are more than double the rural
income levels, reflecting wide intra-country disparities
21. Almost all good grains are used for home consumption while rotten and insect damaged grains and leftovers are fed to animals.
in per capital income. Among the agro-ecologies, central
and western midhills has the highest level of average
per capital income (US$ 185), followed by the terai (US$
135). The highhills and eastern midhills have an average
per capital income of US$ 109 and US$106,
respectively22 (Table 10).
In general, poverty can be defined as "a state of
economic, social, and psychological deprivation occurring
among people or countries lacking sufficient ownership,
control or access to resources to maintain a minimum
standard of living" (World Bank 1980). Although, income
is often considered a proxy for or an indicator of poverty
the above definition implies that poverty can not be
explained byjust low income.
The level of food sufficiency can be a simple criterion to
assess the poverty situation of a country, especially of
developing countries; as well being is associated with
food sufficiency in these countries. Households that are
food sufficient throughout the year have a minimum
material standard of living. Following this definition
APROSC (1998) defined poor as those who do not have
enough resource to feed its family throughout the year.
Numbers of poor and above poor households estimated
by the study are summarized in Table 11.
Table 9: Utilization of locally produced maize (Unit: % of production).
Agro-ecology Human food Animal feed Beverage Sold Kept for seed
Eastern midhills 54 16 24 4 1
Central and western midhills 59 34 0 2 4
Mid-western and far-western midhills 73 14 4 6 3
Terai/Inner-terai 27 15 9 46 3
Highhills 71 15 11 1 2
Table 10: Distribution of per capital income.
Agro-ecology Per capital income (US$) Per capital PPP income (US$)
Eastern midhill 106 892
Central and western midhill 185 1553
Mid-western and far-western midhill 112 935
Terai/Inner-terai 135 1131
Highhill 109 911
Note: PPP= Purchasing power parity
Source: Nepal Human Development Report (1998)
Table 11: Poverty levels of sample households.
Number of Households
Agro-ecology Above poverty a Below poverty b Total
Number (%) Number (%) Number
Eastern midhills 1,369 0.20 5,627 0.80 6,996
Central and western midhills 6,850 0.33 13,892 0.67 20,742
Mid-western and far-western midhills 2,594 0.15 14,255 0.85 16,849
Terai/Inner-terai 26,389 0.33 53,319 0.67 79,708
Highhills 9,302 0.28 23,590 0.72 32,892
Notes: aHouseholds that are able to save some amount after being food sufficient from their own production and other sources of family
income in a year.
bHouseholds with food sufficiency of less than 12 months from their own production and other sources of family income in a year.
Source: Computed based on Poverty Situation Analysis of Nepal (1998).
22. Per capital income in rupee in 1996 converted to US dollar by applying average annual exchange rate of Rs 54.2 per US dollar.
Maize Production Trends and Systems
Maize Production Trends
Maize production increased in Nepal from 1,121,856
tons in 1988/89 to 1,367,340 tons in 1997/98, recording
an average annual growth rate of 1.84%. Of this
total growth in production, about 0.71% was
attributed to an expansion in area and 1.13% to an
increase in yield. The yield increase was less than
the population growth rate (2.3%) during the same
period. Among the maize production agro-ecologies,
the eastern midhills recorded the largest production
growth (3.68% per annum). Most (2.01%) of this
growth, however, came from area expansion and only
1.67% from yield growth (Table 12).
As the population growth during the past decade
remained at 2.3% per annum, the increase in maize
production was not enough to improve the food security
situation of the Nepalese people. The increased use of
maize in animal and poultry feed during the period further
deteriorated the food situation. Hence, per capital
availability of food grains decreased from 189 kg in 1995/
96 to 184 kg in 1997/98. At the same time the contribution
of maize in total food grains decreased from 24% in 1995/
96 to 23% in 1997/98 (Table 13).
Table 12: Area, production, and yield of maize.
Crop years Growth rates
1988/89 1991/92 1994/95 1997/98 (% per annum)
Area ('000 ha)
1 Eastern mid-hill 112 112 124 128 2.01
2 Central & Western mid-hill 312 311 310 320 0.29
3 Mid-western & far-western mid-hill 112 112 109 111 -0.24
4 Terai/Inner-terai 161 161 169 176 1.11
5 High-hill 58 58 60 64 0.93
Total maize area in Nepal 755 754 771 799 0.71
Production ('000 ton)
1 Eastern mid-hill 158 164 198 219 3.68
2 Central & Western mid-hill 464 497 510 529 1.03
3 Mid-western & far-western mid-hill 147 165 176 181 1.30
4 Terai/Inner-terai 272 292 324 338 2.24
5 High-hill 81 87 95 100 2.14
Total maize production in Nepal 1,122 1,205 1,302 1,367 1.84
1 Eastern mid-hill 1.41 1.47 1.60 1.71 1.67
2 Central & Western mid-hill 1.49 1.59 1.64 1.65 0.74
3 Mid-western & far-western mid-hill 1.31 1.47 1.62 1.63 1.54
4 Terai/Inner-terai 1.69 1.82 1.92 1.92 1.13
5 High-hill 1.39 1.50 1.58 1.57 1.21
Average yield of maize in Nepal 1.49 1.60 1.69 1.71 1.13
Source: Computed from the data published by National
Planning Commission Secretariat (1994) and Central Bureau of
Table 13: Food availability and requirement.
Edible Food Available Requiremeni Balance
Agro-ecology Population (000 ton) (000 ton) (000 ton)
Maize Others Total (000 ton) (000 ton)
1 Eastern mid-hill 1,538 166 (46) 193 (54) 360 309 51
2 Central & western mid-hill 5,633 408 (45) 493 (55) 900 1,132 -232
3 Mid-western & far-western mid-hill 2,032 111 (35) 203 (65) 314 408 -94
4 Terai/Inner-terai 9,974 185 (9) 1,975 (91) 2,160 1,805 355
5 High-hill 1,536 60 (33) 119 (67) 179 293 -114
Total 20,712 930 (24) 2,984 (76) 3,914 3,948 -34
1 Eastern mid-hill 1,622 153 (46) 180 (54) 333 326 7
2 Central & western mid-hill 5,859 382 (43) 513 (57) 895 1,178 -283
3 Mid-western & far-western mid-hill 2,140 119 (37) 202 (63) 321 430 -110
4 Terai/Inner-terai 10,140 176 (8) 2,068 (92) 2,244 1,835 409
5 High-hill 1,624 65 (36) 115 (64) 180 310 -130
Total 21,384 895 (23) 3,078 (77) 3,973 4,079 -107
1 Eastern mid-hill 1,656 166 (48) 183 (52) 349 333 16
2 Central & western mid-hill 5,995 400 (43) 540 (57) 940 1,205 -265
3 Mid-western & far-western mid-hill 2,185 124 (36) 221 (64) 345 439 -94
4 Terai/Inner-terai 10,412 182 (8) 2,012 (92) 2,194 1,885 310
5 High-hill 1,656 68 (34) 130 (66) 198 316 -118
Total 21,905 941 (23) 3,087 (77) 4.027 4.178 -151
Note: Figures in theparentheses indicatepercentage contribution in total edible food-grains.
Source: Marketing Development Division, DOA (1997, 1998 and 1999)
Maize Production Systems
The field survey showed that there are enormous
diversities in the way maize is cultivated among different
maize production environments in terms of timing of crop
establishment, inputs and input levels, varieties preferred,
crop rotation, and crop management practices. Major
elements of maize production systems are discussed in
the following sections.
Major Farm Enterprises
Maize is grown in almost all Bari land and paddy in all
Khet land in the midhills during the summer, irrespective
of location. Relayed millet (with maize) is the second
major summer crop in the uplands of the eastern, central,
and western midhills. Almost 82% of the upland in the
mid-western/far-western midhills is planted to wheat or
barley during the winter, while this practice is less common
in the eastern to western midhills. Compared to the hills,
agriculture in the terai is more oriented toward
commercial farming, especially for maize. Other crops
grown by farmers in the survey VDCs are dealt with
separately in later sections.
Livestock is an integral part of the farming system in
Nepal. Some 61% to 88% of all households kept cattle,
41% to 60% kept buffalo, 37% to 53% kept goat, 5% to
24% kept pigs, and 47% to 70% kept poultry during the
survey year (Table 14). While buffaloes are kept for
milk, cattle are kept for draft power and religious
purposes. Goats, sheep, poultry and pig are normally kept
for income generation.
Crops and Cropping Patterns
As mentioned earlier, maize is the single most important
crop in the hills of Nepal in terms of production and
consumption. Maize is cultivated in almost all Bari land
during the summer season. Other major food crops
grown in Bari land are: finger millet, wheat, barley,
legumes, oilseeds, and potato. Rice is grown in all Khet
land in the summer. Other crops grown in Khet land
include wheat, legumes (mostly black gram, horse
gram), oilseeds (mostly mustard), and potato.
Table 14: Livestock ownership and average number of livestock per household.
Cattle Buffalo Goat/Sheep Pig Poultry
% of No. % of No. % of No. % of No. % of No.
Agro-Ecology HH per HH per HH per HH per HH per
that HH that HH that HH that HH that HH
Own Own Own Own Own
1 Eastern mid-hill 3.27 1.37 3.27 1.33 6.33
2 Central and Western mid-hill 61.25 2.96 1.50 4.09 5.67
3 M-west and Far-western mid-hill 88.33 3.19 60.50 1.55 52.88 4.30 6.00 1.50 47.50 3.33
4 Terai/Inner-terai 76.25 4.63 41.25 2.25 37.50 5.13 23.75 4.00 70.00 6.75
5 High-hill 2.54 1.44 3.91 5.00 0.70 6.73
Note: HH Household
Sugarcane, spices (ginger, garlic, and turmeric),
vegetables, fruits, and large cardamom are cultivated
in some pockets for home consumption and commercial
purposes. Cultivation of upland rice in Bari land was
reported in all midhills agro-ecologies, but on a very
Two crops are grown per year in most Bari land of the
midhills and the valleys. The main crop is maize. Millet
is the second most important crop in the eastern to western
midhills and decreases in importance as one goes further
west. It was cultivated in only about 2% of the upland in
the Baitadi district, for example. Millet is either
broadcasted as a single crop during July/August after
harvesting maize or transplanted in standing maize field
near the tasseling of maize as a relay crop.
Winter crops are more common in the western than in
eastern hills. While winter crops are grown in 10% of
the Bari land, in the eastern midhills they are grown in
about 91% of Bari land in the mid and far-western
Wheat is cultivated in all study districts. The proportion
of cultivated land under wheat/barley was about 5% in
the eastern midhills, while it was as high as 81% in the
mid-western and far-western midhills. More winter rain
enables more successful cultivation of wheat/barley in
this agro-ecology. In many cases mustard and lentils
are mixed with wheat. This practice is more common
in Khet land than in Bari land and more common in the
western than eastern midhills. The proportion of wheat
and mustard or lentils in this mix cropping system is
estimated to be 4 :1.
Generally, soybean is intercropped with maize in every
agro-ecology in the hills. This practice is more important
in the mid-western and far-western midhills, as most
maize is intercropped with soybean there. Similarly, some
peas and beans are intercropped with maize in the hills.
Large cardamom, tea, and broom grasses are major cash
crops in the eastern midhills. Vegetables, fruits, and spices
(ginger, turmeric, and garlic) are cultivated in specific
areas in the terai and midhills for consumption and
commercial purposes. Sugarcane and jute are the major
cash crops grown in the terai.
All khet land is planted to rice as a summer crop in the
midhills. No intercropping is practiced with rice although
legumes are commonly planted on bunds. Wheat is the
most important crop grown in the Khet land in the winter.
Other crops are lentils and rapeseed. The cultivation of
winter crops in Khet lands depends heavily on the
availability of irrigation.
Early (spring) rice is cultivated in the terai and valleys,
wherever irrigation exists. Similarly, a rice-maize (winter)
system exists in the eastern and central terai. Wheat is
cultivated as a winter crop in all terai districts. Crops
grown in Khet lands in the terai include oil seeds, potato,
lentil, jute, pigeon pea, and chickpea.
A single crop of maize per annum and rotation of maize
and barley in alternate years were reported in some
surveyed sites in the highhills. Intercropping of potato
with maize is another common cropping pattern. In the
higher altitudes of this agro-ecology, three crops per two
years maize-wheat-millet is also practiced.
The average cropping intensity for Bari land is
estimated to be 169% in the highhills, 175% to 200%
in the midhills and almost 200% in the terai. Similarly,
average cropping intensity for the Khet land is estimated
at 196% to 254% in mid-hill agro-ecologies, 178% and
216% for the Khet lands in highhills and terai agro-
ecologies, respectively (Table 15).
Table 15: Distribution of major cropping patterns and cropping intensities.
Eastern Central and Mid and far- Terai/
midhills western midhills western midhills Inner-terai Highhills
Percentage of cultivated area (%)
Maize+milleta 25 51 2 32
Maize+millet-wheat/barleya 22 1 10
Maize-millet 1 13
Maize-wheat/barleya 5 10 80 7 30
Maize-pulses/oilseeds 5 10 10 68 3
Maize+potato 40 1
Maize-others 3 3 25 7
Maize-fallow 25 2 14
Others 3 2
Average Cropping Intensityb 175 200 194 200 169
Rice-rice-wheat/oilseed 7 2
Rice-maize 75 23 31
Rice- wheat/oilseed-maize 45 9 15
Rice-potato -maize 6 7 7
Rice-wheat/oilseed 9 79 24 34
Rice-others 25 3 17 25
Rice-fallow 6 4 1 44
Average Cropping Intensityb 200 254 196 216 178
Note: aIntercropping of soybeans with maize is common in these systems.
bAverage cropping intensity was calculated by dividing the sum of the area grown to various crops during the year by the total
Crop Rotation and Calendar
A limited amount ofBari land in the central and western
midhills is planted with upland rice in the summer.
Similarly, some Bari land (less than 2%) in the central
to far-western midhills is planted with potato as a mono-
crop in the summer. Maize in the midhills is cultivated
in the rest of the Bari land in the summer either as a
mono crop or with millet, potato or upland rice as a
There are strong differences in the importance of relay
cropping among agro-ecologies. Relay cropping millet
with maize is practiced on about 25% of Bari land in the
eastern midhills. It increases to 73% in the central and
western midhills and begins declining to about 3% in the
mid-western and far-western midhills. Similarly, maize-
millet relay cropping is practiced in 42% ofBari land in
the highhills (Table 15).
Spring maize is planted in three-fourths of the Khet land
in the eastern midhills. This amount decreases as one
moves from east to west up to Baglung (western
development region). No maize is reported inKhet land
in the hills west of Baglung. Among the terai districts,
both spring and winter maize are reported in the eastern
and central development regions but no maize is cultivated
in the Khet land of the terai in the mid-western and far-
western development regions.
Depending upon the altitude and the time of the pre-
monsoon rainfall, maize is sowed in Bari land in the
midhills between the second week of March and the
second week of April. It is sown about a month earlier
in Khet land where rice is established in July after the
maize harvest. Summer maize in the terai is sowed a
month later than the midhills. Winter and spring maize
are also sowed in the terai with irrigation during October
and February, respectively. In the highhills, maize is sowed
as early as March, but because of low temperatures there
it matures later than in the midhills. A crop calendar for
the different agro-ecologies is presented in Figure 1. The
time of establishment and harvest might differ up to one
month depending on the variety grown.
Soil erosion is one of the major abiotic problems facing
farmers in upland slopes in the hills. Though all farmers
interviewed said that erosion is a major problem, they
lacked knowledge of scientific methods of checking soil
erosion. Several cases of landslides were also observed
in the study sites.
Terracing and building drains along the safer side of plots
are traditional practices adopted by farmers to conserve
the topsoil in the hills. Furrows are often made along the
side wall of the field so no water falls directly onto the
fields. Some farmers in the far-western midhills, where
ginger is inter-cropped with maize, practice mulching after
crop establishment. No other techniques are adopted to
prevent soil erosion.
Application of FYM is the most important soil fertility
management practice farmers use. This is more
important in remote hills where fertilizer use is restricted
by availability and high price. Farmers expend
considerable effort to increase FYM by collecting grass
or dry leaves from the forest and composting it with dung.
Ash and other residues are also used as manure.
Mulching and burning of dry leaves is practiced in limited
areas near the forest to improve soil fertility.
In the terai and accessible valleys where access to
markets permits them to cultivate commercial crops,
farmers use fertilizer such as DAP, urea and muriate of
potash to improve soil fertility in addition to FYM.
Maize Varieties Farmers Prefer
Several socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental
factors contribute to the selection of maize varieties.
The most important among them is the use of maize.
People in the east and west prepare their food
differently. In the eastern, central, and western hills,
maize is prepared as Bhaat (grits cooked much the
same way as rice) or Dhindo (porridge). In the mid-
western and far-western hills maize is prepared as Roti
(home made bread) and people prefer a soft and floury
maize grain. In the terai and accessible areas of the
midhills, market demand and price determines the
selection of a variety. As most of the maize produced
in the terai is sold for use in the feed industry, higher
yielding varieties, which produce good quality grits, are
preferred irrespective of color and texture.
Other reasons that influence a farmer's choice of variety
are the level of productivity, maturity period, harvesting
time23, quality and quantity of foliage and the belief that
a certain variety produces a minimum quantity despite
adverse weather. Local maize varieties planted by
farmers and their advantages and disadvantages are
presented in Table 16.
Compared to the hills, there are very few traditional
varieties grown in the terai. They include Tinpankhe,
.5i l ,I a and Murali and are being cultivated exclusively
for home consumption with their fodder used for
Farmers were also asked to rank characteristics in terms
of importance. In all agro-ecologies, high yield was
reported to be most important by all respondents while
there were differences among respondents with regards
to other characteristics (Figure 2). In the terai, high yield
and medium plant height were the most important
characteristics and yellow color of secondary
23. In food deficit locality people prefer to cultivate early variety maize in part of their land.
Table 16: Local maize varieties grown in the hills.
Varieties Advantage Disadvantage Adoption Trend
Seto Chepti Tasty white grits Tall plant lodging High Constant
(White) High yielding and high grits recovery Not good for roasting/popping
Pahelo Good taste as roasted or popped No pleasant taste/look of cooked grits Low Decreasing
(Yellow) Late planting possible Low yield in general
Kalo Good taste as roasted or popped No pleasant look as cooked grits Medium Constant
(Black) Good for late planting (after wheat) Low yield
Kukhure Good for early/late planting Low yield Very low Constant
(Mixed) Good taste as roasted/popped Damage by wild animal (early)
Central and western Midhills
Local Pahelo Drought resistent Small ear and kernel size, low yield High Decreasing
(Yellow) Good fodder for livestock Poor taste
Early maturing High storage loss due to weevil
Seto Chepte Early maturing Low grit recovery Low Decreasing
(White) Good taste Lodging
Easy to grind
Murali Good for roasting/popping Small kernel size- low yield Very Low Decreasing
(Yellow) I__Not good for grits
Mid-western and far-western midhills
Thulo High yield Needs more manure/fertilizer Medium Constant
(Large White) High flour recovery Lodging
Good taste Matures later than Nano
Nano Early maturing (food shortage time) Small kernel size- low yield High Constant
(Small White) Easy to grind and good taste Low flour recovery
Maradi Good for popping Very low yield Very low Decreasing
Thulo Seto Good Yield Not good for local drinks preparation Medium Constant
(Large White) Good for porridge and bread Damage by wild animals (late)
Nano/Sano Seto Suitable for higher altitude Not good for local drinks preparation High Constant
(Small White) Good for porridge and bread Low yield
Sherpa More grain per ear- High yield Lodging High Decreasing
(Large Yellow) High flour recovery and good taste Poor drought resistance
Suitable for red soils in higher altitude Not good for popping
More fodder for animals Declining yield
Sano Pahelo Good for roasting/popping Low yield Low Decreasing
(Small Yellow) Suitable for sandy soils in mid-hills Poor drought resistance _
Note on adoption level:
< 25% of households cultivating the variety is defined as very low; 25-50% as low;
50-75% as medium; and > 75% as high level of adoption.
Figure 2: Demand of maize characteristics in the hills.
High yielding Good taste High grit Early maturing White Lodging Resist.
o Secondary Importance
Central and western Mid-hills
High yielding Good taste High grit Pest/disease Early maturing Yellow
O Secondary Importance
Mid-western and far-western Mid-hills
High yielding Good taste High grit Early maturing White Lodging Resist.
* Primary Importance
* Secondary Importance
Farmers' preference for characteristics also varied from
place to place depending upon different cropping systems,
practices, and the length of the maize growing season.
As for future maize varieties, farmers emphasized short
and strong stalked plant types that do not lodge, drought
resistance, early maturing, and higher yielding. A
summary of desirable maize varietal characteristics for
the different cropping systems is presented in Table 17.
sowing. In-situ manuring (called Thala Rakhne) by
animals during the off season is also reported in the
There are two distinct methods of maize planting:
dropping the seed in the plough mark or broadcasting
before plowing. The first method is more popular, but
needs additional manpower. A few farmers in the eastern
Table 17: Desirable varietal characteristics for different maize production systems in the hills.
Maize Systems Eastern to western Hills Mid-western and far-western hills
Sole crop maize Full season variety (120-150 day maturity) Full season (110- 140 day maturity)
under sequential High yielding, disease and insect resistance, High yielding, disease and insect
system good husk cover resistance, good husk cover
White and yellow colour kernel White colour kernel
Dense foliage and prolific Dense foliage,
Plant height medium to short, Plant height medium to short,
Resistant to lodging Resistant to lodging
Maize for relay or Medium to short maturity (90 -130 day Because relay millet is not practiced in
intercropping maturity) the mid and far-western dry zone, the
system Sparse foliage introduction of different types of beans,
cowpea and vegetables and spices (garlic,
Lower leaf senescence and tolerance to cowpea and vegetables and spices (garlic,
defoliation and detopping ginger and turmeric) should be explored
defoliation and detopping
Plant height medium
Resistant to lodging
Maize for Khet Short duration variety (< 100 day maturity) Short duration variety (< 100 day
land Dense foliage, maturity)
Plant height-medium Dense foliage,
Resistant to lodging Plant height-medium
Resistant to lodging
Source: Rajbhandari, 2000.
Land Preparation and Crop
In the midhills, land preparation begins after the first rains
in March/April. In the highhills it starts in February. In
most cases, land is plowed twice using oxen followed by
de-cloding before sowing maize (if the land was fallow
in winter). In the mid-western and far-western midhills
where a winter crop is cultivated in almost 90% of the
land, a single plowing followed by de-cloding is practiced.
Some farmers also do a second plowing before sowing
to mix manure into the soil and also to make the soil
more suitable for the crop. In smaller plots and narrow
comers, where plowing is difficult, manual digging is done.
Transporting farmyard manure is started before land
preparation and continues through to sowing as the activity
is carried out during leisure times (between farming
activities). The manure carried to the field is piled and
spread after the first plowing or one or two days before
hills also reported dibbling24 a method which is useful
while sowing maize in fields where potato is already
The first weeding is done about a month after sowing
and the second weeding about 50-60 days after sowing.
Millet is transplanted into a developed maize during the
second weeding. A few farmers indicated that they
placed a teaspoon of urea around each plant during the
second weeding. This practice is more frequent on land
near the homestead.
No major differences are observed in maize cultivation
practices between Bari and Khet lands. In Khet land,
it is cultivated as spring maize and a higher proportion
of improved maize varieties are used. Winter maize is
cultivated in Khet land in the terai and foothills using
improved OPV and hybrid seed. Additionally, unlike Bari
land, Khet land maize is irrigated twice. While some of
24. Making a small hole with a stick, dropping maize seed into the hole and covering with soil.
the stover of the main maize season from Bari land is labour lower than the market rate. In all surveyed sites,
used for compost, all stover produced in Khet land is more females were involved in maize cultivation than
used for fodder, as maize in Khet land is harvested males. Generally, less human labor is involved in maize
during the dry season when fodder supply from other cultivation per unit of area in the terai than in the hills
sources is low. In both Khet and Bari land, all maize (Table 18). Labour use rates are more uniform among
stover is removed and not incorporated into the soil. the study sites in the terai.
Leve/ of Input Use
Seed, fertilizers, and manure are the major inputs used
by farmers in the study sites. Seed rate is as high as 60
kg per ha in the eastern midhills. This is to ensure that
enough plants develop despite possible low germination
rates and pest problems. In other parts of the mid-hills it
ranges from 25 to 34 kg/ha and is 35 kg/ha in the high-
hills. In the central and western midhills, 95 kg urea per
Yields and Yield Gap
There was large variation in maize productivity ranging
from a minimum of 0.36 t/ha to a maximum of 5.13 t/ha
in the different agro-ecologies within the midhills. The
average yield of local maize in the mid-hill agro-ecologies
was reported to be from 1.35 t/ha to 2.36 t/ha and that
of improved OPV's to be from 1.35 to 2.95 t/ha. Yields
were better in the western than eastern parts of the
Table 18: Average level of input use in maize cultivation
Agro-ecology Material inputs Labour inputs
Seed Urea DAP Potash PPC FYM Human Animal
(kg/ (kg/ (kg/ (kg/ (kg/ (ton/ (day/ha) Male Female (pairday/ha)
ha) ha) ha) ha) ha) ha) (%) (%)
1 Eastern mid-hill 60 57 30 3 0 11 267 48 52
2 Central & western mid- 34 95 0 0 0 22 295 38 62 10
3 Mid-western &far- 25 20 14 2 0 15 154 40 60 14
4 Terai/Inner-terai 25 84 62 32 2 9 124 47 53
5 High-hill 35 30 7 0 0 15 251 45 55 35
ha is applied. The average use of fertilizer in the eastern
midhills is 90 kg/ha comprised of 57 kg urea, 30 kg DAP
and 3 kg Potash, whereas 36 kg/ha fertilizer is used in
the mid-western and far-western midhills. In the terai,
where adoption of improved technology is higher than
the hills, 84 kg/ha urea, 62 kg/ha DAP and 32 kg/ha
potash is used. Despite poor access, farmers in the
highhills reported using 37 kg fertilizer per ha in maize
fields on average (Table 18).
Labour use rates were as high as 295 mandays per ha in
the central and western midhills25 and as low as 154
mandays per ha in the mid-western and far-western
midhills26. If all the labour used is valued at market wage
rates, returns to maize production would be less than the
costs of inputs and labour in some cases. However, 90%
of this labour is provided by the family and through
exchange labor, making the real wage rate of family
midhills. Yields of hybrid maize in the midhills ranged
from 3.80 t/ha to 5.06 t/ha with an average yield of 4.43
t/ha. Productivity of local and improved maize was lower,
but productivity of hybrid maize was higher in the terai
than in the midhills and highhills. The average yield of
improved OPV maize in the midhills and highhills was
18% and 20% higher than local maize. The average yield
of hybrid maize was recorded at 4.43 t/ha, about 90%
higher than improved OPVs.
The yield of local maize in the terai ranged from 0.20 t/
ha to 2.00 t/ha and that of improved OPVs from 1.35 t/
ha to 2.83 t/ha. Similarly, the yield of hybrid maize
ranged from 4.75 t/ha to 7.50 t/ha. The average yield
of an improved OPV was about 57% higher and that
of a hybrid 300% higher than local maize in the terai as
a whole (Table 19).
25. One of the reasons is labourers work for only 4-5 hours a day in the midhills and highhills of the central development region compared to 8
hours in other areas.
26. One of the reasons is that only one plowing and less labour for decloding is required in the area where a winter crop is cultivated.
Table 19: Maize yields by variety.
Agro-ecology Local Maize Improved OPV Maize Hybrid Maize
Max Min Ave Max Min Ave Max Min Ave
1 Eastern mid-hill 2.21 1.13 1.35 4.42 0.36 1.35
2 Central &western mid-hill 2.69 1.49 2.2 2.99 2.22 2.7 5.06 3.80 4.43
3 Mid-west &far-westen mid-hill 5.13 0.78 2.36 4.43 1.73 2.95
4 Terai/Inner-terai 2.00 0.20 1.34 2.83 1.35 2.10 7.50 4.75 5.45
5 High-hill 2.83 0.89 1.84 2.83 1.10 2.22
Note: Max= Maximum, Min Minimum, Ave= Average.
Maize yields differ significantly among districts, villages,
and even among plots within a village. Poor soil fertility
was cited by all farmers as the major factor for the
yield gap. Other reasons were the quantity and pattern
of rainfall, time of crop establishment, quality of seed,
level of input use, availability of irrigation, and diseases
and pest infestations.
Maize is harvested at maturity and stalks are removed
to allow for the development of relay crops such as
millet. Cobs are separated by size and quality
(appearance). Small cobs with poor appearance are
dehusked and sun-dried for 3-4 days on the floor and
then shelled by hand or with a stick. Grains are kept
loosely if they are going to be consumed shortly or placed
in some kind of containers for longer term storage.
Large and good cobs are tied in bunches (4-6 cobs) and
sun-dried for 4-5 days. After drying, these bunches are
piled in specially prepared open-air storage structures,
called Thankro, Suli or Luta. Special care is taken in
preparing these stores to make them water2 and rodent
proof8. The maize is removed from these stores in
December or later, shelled and stored in bamboo baskets
or wooden stores. Farmers in general do not use
chemicals to protect grains from storage pests.
Maize cobs are also hung on ropes inside the house or
on verandahs by tying the sheaths together (in Jhuttas).
This method of drying/storage is economical, provided
that it can be protected from rodents and rain. Farmers
also store maize by hanging them with ropes above the
kitchen or keeping them in specially prepared bamboo/
Other maize storage structures found in the country are
Kuniu (wooden platform usually in uppermost floor of
the house), Dehari (indoor structure made from a mixture
of mud, straw pieces, and dung), Bhakari (interwoven
split bamboo), bamboo baskets, earthen pots, timber bins,
and metal bins. The choice of storage structure depends
upon the form (whether the maize is dehusked or shelled),
quantity, and duration of storage.
No open stores are used to store maize in the terai.
Harvested cobs are cleaned and pilled in a shed, mostly
inside a house or a store, until they have enough time to
shell them. Shelled grains are then stored in a Bhakari
made of bamboo and wood or in a Dehari, an earthen
store. Farmers here also rarely use storage chemicals.
The major problem with postharvest handling is the
difficulty of drying maize. The summer maize harvesting
season coincides with the late monsoon when cobs have
a relatively high moisture content (23- 28%). Ideally maize
should be dried to 13-14% (K.C. Ganesh 2000) before
being stored. Farmers have neither the knowledge nor
equipment to measure maize moisture content and simply
dry the maize for 4-5 days before storing. However,
because of humid rainy days during and immediately after
harvest, the maize is usually not dry enough to be safely
Some farmers said they select seeds for planting the
following season while storing the harvest by selecting
good cobs, sun-drying them, and storing them separately.
However, most farmers in the hills select seeds when
shelling or sowing. Seed grains are taken (hand-shelled)
from the middle of the cob so that big and uniform sized
grains could be obtained. If seeds are selected during
harvest or shelling (December-January), they are stored
with ash, Timur (.Vl,, i-: luii alatum) seeds, Titepati
(Artemisia vulagaris) leaves or millet grains to prevent
attack from storage pests. In the mid-western hills
kerosene use was also reported to control storage pests.
27. Some straw is tied on top of the stored cobs.
28. A spiky structure made of iron or tin placed around the poles just below the stored maize to prevent rodent access.
Maize Production Constraints
Several problems that impact maize production were
identified during the transact-walk, field observations, and
discussions with farmers, extension workers, local
knowledgeable persons, and VDC officials. Across all
agro-ecologies, farmers frequently mentioned the lack
of quality seed as the single most important factor
affecting maize productivity. Lack of knowledge of
improved production practices was also mentioned,
particularly in more remote areas. Other major threats
that were mentioned were maize field and storage pests
and diseases. Problems that were identified are grouped
into biotic and abiotic constraints, institutional constraints,
and other constraints.
Biotic and Abiotic Constraints
Diseases and Pests in Maize Fields
Smut (.S'ipL L / /l'/ LaI reiliana) and turcicum blight
(HU li/ial,'.,. l'iini turcicum) in the eastern and mid-
western/far-western midhills and highhills; ear rot in the
central/western and mid-western/far-westem midhills;
stalk rot in the mid-western/far-westem midhills, terai,
and highhills; and downy mildew (Perona sclerospora
spp.) and leaf firing in the terai were important diseases
mentioned by farmers. Banded leaf and Sheath blight
(Rhizoctonia solani) was increasing in severity and
prevalence in all environments. Turcicum Leaf Blight is
ubiquitous in hill environments and can cause severe
losses if the variety does not have good genetic resistance.
White grubs (Phyllophaga spp. and Cyclocephala
spp.), stem borers (Chilo partellus), and termites
(Microtermes spp. and Macrotermes spp.) were major
maize field insects in all agro-ecologies. Army worms
(Spodoptera spp.) and cutworms (Agrotis spp. and
other species) were also major problems in all agro-
ecologies except the eastern midhills. Blister beetle was
a major problem in the central/western and mid-western/
far-western midhills and the terai, and field cricket was
a major problem in the eastern and mid-western/far-
western midhills and highhills. Aphid (Rhopilosiphum
Table 20: Major diseases and pests in maize fields and stores.
Disease/pest Type Occurs during Eastern Central/weste Mid/far-weste Terai High-
mid-hills rn mid-hills rn mid-hills hills
Aphid Insect Flowering stage
Army worm Insect Mostly vegetative stage
Turcicum blight Disease Flowering stage _
Blister beetle Insect Grain filling stage '1 '1 '1
Cut worm Insect Emergence
Downy mildew Disease Early vegetative stage_
Ear rot Disease Cob formation 1 1
Field cricket Insect Emergence _____ __
Grasshopper Insect Knee high stage ________________
Leaf firing Disease Flowering stage __
Locust Insect Any time __
Monkey Animal Pre-harvest & Store ____ ________ ______
Moth Insect Store "
Porcupine Animal Pre-harvest & Store ____ ________ ______
Rat/mouse Rodent Pre-harvest & Store 1 1 1 1
Red ant Insect Emergence & Pre- "---- ---
Smut Disease hMRJltkhring stage __________ ______
Stalk rot Disease Flowering stage _____ ____
Stem borer Tnsect Knee high stage f f 1 1
Tassel beetle Tnsect Tasseling stage __________ _________________
Termite Tnsect Flowering stage '1 1 '1 '1 '1
Weevil Tnsert Stnre, / / / /
White gnih, Tnsert Fmergenre V 1 1 V V
spp.), locust, red ant, and tassel beetle were also reported
by farmers (Table 20). White grubs were more localized
than stem borers and seem to favoer sandier soils. Stem
borers can be particularly problematic in spring and
summer plantings when temperatures and insect
reproduction rates are high. Insects in general tend to be
less problematic in highhills than in other agro-ecologies.
Weevils (Sitophilus spp.) and Angoumois grain moth
(Sitotroga cerealella) were major problems in stored
grain. In all survey sites the extent of damage to maize
grain depended on the duration of storage. In the terai
and other accessible areas where maize is stored for
longer periods, pest damage was as high as 50%.
However, it is not clear how extensive post-harvest losses
are in the midhills and highhills as most maize is consumed
within six months of harvest and pest development is
relatively slow during the cooler winter months.
Soil Fertility and Crop Management
Soil fertility was one of the most serious constraints to
maize production in all survey sites. Due to a number of
socio-economic factors, the primary input into maintaining
and improving soil fertility is manure/compost. Farmers
complained that they do not have access to adequate
quantities of manure/compost because of diminishing
access to quality fodder for their animals. Compost quality
was extremely variable, as many farmers have not
adopted improved compost management practices.
In comparatively accessible areas, fertilizer is used to
supplement manure/compost. However, only urea is used
and there is concern that other nutrients, particularly
phosphorous, are now limiting as organic inputs are
generally poor sources of P. Soil erosion results in
significant losses in productive topsoil as most fields are
sloped and rainfall during the monsoon can be intense.
Traditional planting and weeding practices are labour
intensive and the labour shortage (more adult males
leaving the village for off-farm work and children
attending schools) makes it difficult to control weeds
effectively. As weed growth is slower in high hills, weed
competition is less of a constraint in this agro-ecology.
Lodging is a common problem of currently used
genotypes. Less research has been carried out on the
maize-wheat system (mainly in the mid-western/far-
westem hills) compared to the maize-millet relay system.
Therefore, specific recommendations for management
of inputs that optimize this cropping system are generally
not available. There has also been little adoption of
modem varieties in this particular agro-ecology.
Although fertilizer is readily available and commonly used
29. Mainly improved seed, fertilizer, and plant protection chemicals.
in most areas of the terai, problems of micronutrient
deficiencies have been noted and current practices do
not address this problem. High temperatures during
flowering in spring maize and drought are stresses that
are occasionally problematic in this agro-ecology.
Although the DADO has offices in the district
headquarters and satellite offices at the service center/
sub-center level, it has not been able to provide sufficient
services to farmers, especially in remote hills. One of
the problems is the relatively large area each extension
personnel has to serve. Many farmers in remote areas
did not know the Junior Technicians/Junior Technical
Assistants deputed to their area. Only a few farmers in
some VDCs reported NGOs as sources of technology.
However, NGOs were more inclined toward social
awareness campaigns and production of cash crops such
as vegetables and fruits. The majority of farmers rely on
progressive farmers for information about new
technologies. The case is similar with the supply of inputs
Lack of information is most acute for farmers in the
highhills and remote areas of the midhills. Many farmers
in these areas did not know which improved varieties
are suitable for their farms and where to obtain them.
While they did sometimes find seeds bearing the names
of improved varieties, these varieties often failed to
produce as much as local varieties, resulting in
indifference on the part of farmers towards adopting
improved varieties. Lack of knowledge of improved crop
management practices including spacing, fertilization, and
choice of variety are other problems.
Farmers, in many instances, could not identify insect pests,
diseases, and nutritional deficiencies in their crops and
had no knowledge of pesticides that could be used for
their control. In most locations improved technology29
was beyond the reach of the farming community because
of their unavailability and high price.
While only a few farmers used fertilizers in their maize
fields, those using them did not use them in a balanced
way. It was also found that in some cases farmers used
urea exclusively and other cases applied it to the surface
without covering it with soil.
Input Supply Constraints
The problems associated with availability of quality maize
seeds differ between agro-ecologies. In the eastern to
western midhills farmers often complained that improved
maize varieties of their choice is not available. While the
DADO distributes some seeds through minikits and for
demonstration plots, this amount is negligible when
compared to the need. In the mid-western and far-
western midhills and highhills, farmers complained that
available improved varieties are not suitable to their
environment and taste.
With the withdrawal of the AIC from active involvement
in supplying seed, there is currently no public or private
institution marketing certified seed of newly released
OPVs in large quantities. Some hybrid maize seeds were
imported from India by private traders and sold in
accessible areas, but the price was three times higher
than an improved OPV. Some farmer groups have
become active in producing maize seed, especially in the
central midhills and terai, but the quantity they supply is
small compared to demand. Most of the seed that these
farmer groups produce is channeled through the DADO
and small-scale seed sellers, rather than through an
The AIC has not been able to supply sufficient inputs
(seed and fertilizers) in the hills for three reasons:
remoteness of the area; lack of awareness and demand
of modem inputs; and lack of purchasing capacity of the
farmers. The price of fertilizers has also gone up
drastically as a result of the government's recent
withdrawal of its subsidy. In the absence of a stable
government policy and the underdeveloped market, the
private sector has been skeptical about getting into the
input business. Farmers also complained that fertilizers
supplied by private traders (mainly imported from India)
were of poor quality and that there was no quality control
in the districts.
In the mid-western and far-western regions, people eat
maize bread and porridge only and are unaware of other
maize dishes. Further, existing processing tools, namely
grinding stones and local water mills, are designed to
grind softer local maize and cannot grind the harder grains
of some improved maize varieties.
Because of the underdeveloped marketing system, poor
market infrastructure, and shortage of inputs, excess
maize production is not easily disposed of at an attractive
price. This has indirectly slowed the pace of adoption of
Population pressure and declining productivity has pushed
farmers toward increased use of marginal/steep lands
for maize cultivation. This practice has caused soil erosion
especially along newly opened road corridors.
Priority Constraints for Research
Methodology for Identifying
The constraints identified during the field survey were
summarized and presented in the Third Planning Meeting
of HMRP30 discussed earlier. This meeting was attended
by senior NARC scientists engaged in maize
development in different parts of the country. Senior
CIMMYT scientists facilitated the discussions directed
at establishing priorities. After a general discussion on
the constraints, the participants were divided into four
working groups31 to further validate and elaborate the
constraints in light of the importance of the problem, yield
gain should the particular constraint be alleviated and
the probability of finding a solution to the constraint. The
working groups presented their findings in the panel
session, which were further discussed, validated and
Table 21: Priority ranking of maj or biophysical and institutional maize production constraints.
Agro-ecology Constraints Ranks based on
Efficiency Poverty Subsistence Combined
CW Midhills Lack of high-yielding varieties 1 1 1 1
CW Midhills Lack of impr. variety for relay cropping 2 2 2 2
CW Midhills Declining soil fertility 3 3 3 3
Terai Lack of hybrid varieties 4 4 7 4
CW Midhills Low plant population 5 5 4 5
CW Midhills Weeds 7 7 5 6
Terai Drought 6 6 10 7
CW Midhills Stemborers 9 9 6 8
Terai Inadequate crop management technologies 8 8 13 9
CW Midhills Soil erosion 11 11 8 10
CW Midhills Ear rot 12 12 9 11
Terai Lack of seed supply 10 10 14 12
Terai Inadequate post-harvest technologies 13 13 16 13
CW Midhills Turcicum blight 15 15 11 14
CW Midhills White grub 16 16 12 15
Terai Stemborers 14 14 17 16
CW Midhills Soil acidity 17 17 15 17
Eastern Midhills Labour shortage for first weeding 18 18 18 18
Eastern Midhills Lack of variety for maize/millet compatibility 19 19 19 19
Eastern Midhills Lack of improvement in local implements 20 20 20 20
Eastern Midhills Declining soil fertility 21 21 21 21
MFWMidhills No alternative variety option 22 22 22 22
Eastern Midhills Turcicum leaf blight 23 23 23 23
Eastern Midhills Loose husk cover 24 24 24 24
Eastern Midhills Storage grain loss (due to pests) 25 25 25 25
Note: 1 is the highest priority and 25 the lowest priority.
CW= Central and Western, MFW= Mid-western and Far-western.
30. The first two days of the Planning Meeting were devoted to setting the priorities for maize R&D work in Nepal.
3 1. One group each was assigned the responsibility to look into details on (i) eastern highhills and midhills, (ii) central and western highhills and
midhills, (iii) mid-western and far-western high hills and mid hills and (iv) terai/inner terai maize production domains.
Efficiency indices of the specific constraints were
estimated as a product of the importance of the
constraint; yield gains associated with the constraint
alleviation; total production of maize in specific agro-
ecologies; probability of finding a solution to the
constraint; and adoption history (percentage of farmers
that have adopted the new technology).
As the primary objective of increased maize
production is to ensure food security and reduce
poverty incidence, future programs have to be
designed to achieve this objective. The poverty index
was therefore developed as an additional indicator to
set priorities for maize research. This index was
derived as a product of the efficiency index and
proportion of households living below the poverty line32
in each agro-ecology. Further, a subsistence index was
calculated as the product of the efficiency index and
the proportion of farmers in each agro-ecology who
produce food primarily to meet subsistence needs.
Finally the combined index was calculated by adding
the products of 0.50 X efficiency index, 0.30 X poverty
index and 0.20 X subsistence index.
Based on the efficiency, poverty, subsistence, and
combined indices, 25 constraints across all agro-ecologies
were established. These constraints are more or less
similar in ranking regardless of which index is applied
(Table 21). The priority problems for each agro-ecology
are discussed in the following paragraphs.
Eastern midhills (Agro-ecology- 1)
This ecology suffers from labour shortage for maize
cultivation, especially for the first weeding. Lack of a
compatible maize variety that allows growth of relayed
millet is the second most important problem here. Lack
of improved implements, declining soil fertility and loose
husk cover (which makes the maize ears susceptible to
field and storage pests) are other problems.
Even though farmers complained that several diseases
and pests such as stalk rot, ear rot, stem borers, field
cricket, white grubs, and turcicum leaf blight damage
their maize, only turcicum leaf blight was among the 25
Central and western midh/lls
Lack of high yielding variety (HYV) was the main
constraint for this agro-ecology. As in the eastern midhills,
lack of a suitable variety for relay cropping is the second
priority constraint followed by declining soil fertility. Low
plant population (often caused by drought after planting),
excessive rain and weeds, insect damage, soil erosion,
and increasing soil acidity are other problems.
Among the diseases and pests reported by farmers, ear
rot and turcicum blight were identified as major diseases
and stem borers and white grubs as major insects.
Mid-western and far-western midhills
Though several constraints were mentioned by
farmers in this domain, only the lack of alternative
HYV to suit this environment fell within the 25 priority
constraints that were identified. Farmers did not accept
improved OPVs released by the NMRP as they
matured later than traditional varieties. Early maturity
is an important characteristic in the area as maize is
planted a month later than the eastern part of Nepal
and harvesting must be done in time to prepare land
for winter crops (wheat/barley).
Teral inner-teral and foothills (Agro-
The warmer temperatures and better irrigation
facilities in the terai/inner terai agro-ecology offer a
suitable environment for maize cultivation, especially
winter/spring maize. Many farmers use hybrid seed.
However, most hybrid seeds are imported and the
unsystematic approach to importation of hybrid seeds
is a setback to maize production in the terai. Drought
is another major constraint, especially in spring
maize. Inadequate crop management technologies,
lack of regular seed supply mechanisms, and
inadequate post harvest technologies are other
priority constraints. Stemborer is a major pest
problem in this agro-ecology (Table 22).
Many of the constraints mentioned in the midhills apply
in the highhills. Considering the area affected by and
seriousness of the constraints, the lack of HYV is the
most important priority constraint. However, none of
the constraints mentioned by farmers were among the
top 25 priority constraints that were identified because
of the smaller quantity of maize produced in this
32. See Table 11 for information on population below the poverty line.
Table 22: Priority problems of maize production.
Eastern Development Region Western & Central Development Mid & Far- western
Region Development Region
Labour shortage for 1st weeding; Lack of HYV; Lack of improved No alternative variety
Lack of variety for maize/millet variety for relay cropping; Declining option
Mid-hills compatibility; Lack of improved soil fertility; Low plant pop'n;
local implements; Declining soil Weeds; Stemborers; Soil erosion;
fertility; Turcicum leaf blight; Loose Ear rot; Turcicum blight; White
husk cover; Storage pests grub; Soil acidity
Terai Lack of hybrid varieties; Drought; Inadequate crop management technologies; Lack of seed supply;
Inadequate post-harvest technologies; Stemborers
An Agenda for Maize Research
and Development in Nepal
For greater impact through research, the most pressing
constraints that are likely to have a technical solution
should be addressed first. Therefore, maize scientists,
participating in the third planning meeting of HMRP, were
asked to estimate the probability of success in eliminating
each of the 25 priority constraints in each agro-ecology,
and the probability of farmers adopting the new
technology. Based on an index that combined these
criteria, research approaches were ranked. The most
effective approaches for dealing with identified priority
constraints and likelihood index of producing an impact
to eliminate the constraints are summarized in Table 23.
Annex 3 gives details on probability of success, adoption,
and potential suppliers of the technology.
The prioritization exercise indicated that top priority
should be given to the midhills, where the lack of high
yielding OPVs is the main constraint. The high priority
given to this constraint may also be associated with the
lack of availability of seed of existing released varieties33.
The exercise did indicate that more emphasis should be
placed on developing full-season than early maturing
varieties. Although not specified as a solution, community
seed delivery programs could also help reduce this
The problem of turcicum blight can effectively be dealt
with through a breeding program. Screening for this trait
should also be carried out as a standard component of
the germplasm development process.
To address the problem of soil fertility decline (mainly
caused by continuous mining of soil nutrients and loss of
topsoil by erosion), research should include an
investigation on reducing the loss of nutrients from farm
manure. Additionally, priority should be given to the
developments of cropping system that includes legumes.
There is also scope for integrated plant nutrient
management and improvement in the efficiencies of
applied fertilizer nutrients. Soil conservation, soil
amendments, and development of soil acidity tolerant
varieties can help with soil acidity problems. Land
preparation practices such as minimum tillage,
improvement of farm implements, improved planting
33. A list of maize varieties released by NMRP is presented in Annex 4.
methods, and improved weed management practices can
ease the problem of poor crop management and labour
shortage in peak periods.
In the terai a concerted effort is needed for the
development of hybrids. The production of hybrids in
the absence of a viable seed enterprise, however, is a
formidable challenge, and must be addressed through
policy and/or through non-traditional seed multiplication
schemes. The issue of seed multiplication should be
addressed before hybrids are formally selected so that
there will not be a lag in the provision of seed once the
hybrids have been identified.
While increased production per unit area is the main
objective of R&D, other considerations must be taken
into account in setting an agenda for maize R&D in
Nepal-the end use of the crop, the cost of production
per unit of output, socio-economic factors, the
microclimates, accessibility status, tastes/preferences and
competing as well as complementary crops grown. From
an equity point of view, priority should be given to areas
where the majority of poor people reside and where maize
is a major staple. At the same time, return to investment
is higher where maize is grown as a commercial crop.
Considering these climatic, socio-economic, and
infrastructural complexities, it is recommended that
resources should be allocated in such a way that they
address the needs of the different agro-ecologies, if not
each micro climatic pocket.
The major areas of concern can be divided into three
categories technology development (including varietal
development, cropping systems research, soil fertility
research, and pest control research), technology
dissemination, and input supply and output marketing.
Varietal De velopment
Improved varieties should be developed and made
available as broadly as possible. Farmers repeatedly
stated that they like early maturity, but also made it clear
that they are unwilling to accept lower yields associated
with this characteristic. Mid to late maturing varieties
Table 23: Research approaches ranked by likelihood of producing an impact
on eliminating constraints to maize production.
S.N. Constraints Research Approaches Likelihood Index
Agro-ecology: Hills (mid and high-hills)
1 Lack of HY OPVs Development of Full season varieties 0.50
Development of Early season varieties 0.30
2 Turcicum blight Breeding for resistant varieties 0.28
Early planting 0.08
Fertilizer management 0.01
3 Stem Borer Biotech 0.30
Breeding for resistant varieties 0.15
Integrated Pest Management 0.15
4 White grubs Biocontrol 0.15
Crop management 0.08
5 Soil fertility decline Improved FYM/compost preparation/use 0.40
Grain-legume Intercropping 0.15
External fertilization 0.10
Residue management 0.08
Improved terrace management 0.08
Bio fertilizer (direct/indirect) 0.02
Cover crop introduction 0.00
6 Soil acidity Soil amendment OM/lime 0.10
Tolerant varieties 0.05
Soil conservation 0 01
7 Poor crop management Weed management (mechanical & chemical) 0 40
Plant Density 0 40
Planting method and thinni ng 0 75
Farm implement improvement 0 03
T and preparation (min tillage) 0 00
Agro-ecology: Terai (Terai and foothills)
1 Lack of OPVs/hybrids Summer- OPVsX 0 77
Spring Fanrly OPV/hybrid lc 7
Winter fall- season, yellow hybrid 0 63 -
2 Drought Farly varieties 0Q 7
(spring & summer)m Tolerant varieties- 0 [51
-3 Seed supply-- Priate seed sector (policy opt) -0 63
4 Pollen death (due to high Early varieties 0.72
temp- in spr_) Temperature tolerant varieties 0 20
5 Crop management Weed control 042
Fertilizer irrigation 0.32
6 Stem borer/stalk rots Chemical control 0.63
Tolerant varieties 0.1 6
Note: Higher figures in index column indicate greater likelihood of producing an impact.
should therefore be developed, but in most cases they
should not be longer in duration than the currently
In the eastern to western midhills (agro-ecology-1 and
2), there is sufficient moisture for late maturing genotypes,
if the inclusion of millet or other relay crops are not
considered. Varieties developed for these ecologies
must be resistant to turcicum blight, ear rots, stem
borers, and white grubs. Both yellow and white coloured
genotypes are needed but the grain texture should be
flint, as maize is primarily prepared as grits. Although
the demand for white grain is greater than yellow grain,
yellow grain should be developed especially in more
remote areas where vitamin A deficiencies are
problematic. Plants should be resistant to lodging but taller
plants are desired as stover is used extensively for animal
feed and fuel. Resistance to stored grain pests is also
desirable. Since maize is often grown in a relay system
with millet (in low to mid altitudes) and potato (in higher
altitudes), plant characteristics that allow for good relay/
intercrop development as well as tolerance to the
stripping of lower leaves and detasseling soon after pollen
shed are required.
Since maize is primarily used in making Roti in the mid-
western and far-western midhills (agro-ecology-3), the
grain type should be white and floury. Farmers expressed
an interest in early maturing varieties even though full
season types appear to fit the rainfall pattern in this
ecology. One of the reasons farmers mentioned early
maturing varieties was the need to prepare land for winter
crops (wheat/barley) while there is sufficient moisture
in the soil (by the first week of October), though these
crops are seeded in November. Early maturing varieties
are also required because of the need for food during
lean periods. Further follow-up is needed to understand
these issues fully and decide on the importance of early
maize for this agro-ecology.
Considering farmers' increasing interest in high yielding
hybrid varieties, especially in irrigated and accessible
areas in the terai/inner-terai and foothills (agro-ecology-
4), it is recommended that hybrid maize be developed in
the country. At the same time, some regulations are
needed on imported hybrid maize seed (until it is produced
in the country) so that good quality can be assured. Stem
borer and drought resistance varieties are needed
particularly for the spring plantings in this ecology. Early
varieties are required for areas where maize is grown
before rice (i.e. Khet land). Early varieties are also
required in the terai/inner-terai where pollen death due
to high temperature is reported in spring maize. At the
same time, drought tolerant varieties should be developed.
Grain colour should be yellow but grain type (i.e. flint or
dent) is not critical. The development of high yielding
maize varieties with improved protein quality (Quality
Protein Maize) may also be justified particularly if a
premium market price for such grains can be obtained.
The most important problem for the highhills (agro-ecology
5) is the lack of suitable HYVs. Given the small area in
this agro-ecology, only white grain types should be
developed, as that is the colour preferred by most
farmers. Resistance to turcicum blight is needed and
genotypes should not be later than existing released
genotypes (i.e. Ganesh- 1).
Cropping System Research
The maize-millet system that dominates the eastern to
western midhills (agro-ecology-1 and 2) is ideal for the
long rainy period. Maize reaches physiological maturity
4 to 6 weeks before the end of the rains. Millet is
transplanted after the flowering of the maize and
develops with minimal competition after maize is removed.
The exploitation of the available moisture after maize
removal is key to intensifying this system. In warmer
areas of this ecology where sequential cropping is
practiced, new crops should also be tried.
The current practice of transplanting millet is extremely
labour-intensive. Management practices that ease labour
requirements for transplanting and weeding should be
developed. The effect of stripping lower leaves and of
over-planting and thinning maize needs to be investigated
to determine practices that optimize the overall yield of
the system. To reduce the labour requirement for millet
transplanting, alternatives to millet should be sought,
especially legumes or cash crops. It is also possible to
adopt higher yielding long duration maize in areas where
land remains fallow after maize. Long duration soybean
varieties, which have shown promising results, should
also be tried.
In the mid-western and far-western midhills (Agro-
ecology-3) where there is significant rainfall during the
winter months, research is recommended to determine
the optimum varietal combinations of maize and wheat
with different maturity lengths. From an analysis of the
rainfall data and fallow period between maize and wheat,
it would appear that a longer season variety of maize
could be grown without compromising the yield ofwheat,
which is usually planted in November when temperatures
are optimum for its growth. Further investigation is
required to verify this.
Since maize can be grown in any of the three seasons
(summer, winter, and spring) in the terai/inner-terai and
foothills (agro-ecology-4), research is required to identify
the best crop management practices including appropriate
time for specific activities. Time of crop establishment is
very important for spring maize, which often suffers from
excessive heat and drought. An analysis of weather data
might help determine the appropriate time to plant the
crop to minimize losses.
Many farmers complained that profits are dwindling as
maize grain prices are decreasing, whereas the prices
of inputs have increased significantly over the last two
years. Because of limited restrictions on the import/export
of agricultural products from/to India, prices in Nepal
are determined by prices in Indian markets. Therefore,
there is little scope of intervention to stabilize maize prices.
There is also very little scope of reducing the price of
fertilizer, which is one of the important inputs. A feasible
way to increase profitability of farmers is through the
use of cost effective technology. Research directed
towards the development of technologies that improve
efficiencies should, therefore, focus on reducing the
labour requirement per unit of production. As land
preparation and weeding are labour-intensive activities,
the development of zero-tillage or minimum tillage
practices for maize should be investigated. Research
should focus on developing labour saving weed control
mechanisms in maize fields.
As the highhills (agro-ecology-5) are not food sufficient,
research should concentrate on increasing total
production in addition to yield improvement. There is
considerable scope to do so by developing alternative
Soil Fertility Research
One of the most logical and feasible solutions to check
soil fertility decline in the mid- and highhills is increased
use of compost. One of the major constraints mentioned
by farmers in this respect was declining fodder caused
by reduced access to the forest. Increased fodder
cultivation in farmers' fields should, therefore, be initiated.
Technological improvement is also needed to improve
preparation techniques and management of FYM/
compost. Fertilizer recommendations need to be
developed for a range of soil types and compost/manure
use scenarios. Similarly, some soils in the hills are acidic.
Research on liming and soil conservation is therefore
justified in this ecology. Research also should be directed
at developing an acid tolerant variety in the future.
In areas where inorganic fertilizer is used, only urea is
applied. Data on the requirement of other nutrients are
needed. Better recommendations on the combined use
of inorganic and organic sources, and an investigation
into the role of reduced tillage practices are needed to
check soil fertility decline and to mitigate soil erosion.
Additionally, research that will enable synchronizing the
requirement of nutrients of both maize and other crops
with the inputs of organic and inorganic sources of
nutrients is needed. There is also a need to explore the
role of micronutrients and liming in the production of
maize in many intensively cultivated areas of the terai.
Insect Control Research
Given the predominance of stem borers and white grubs
in all agro-ecologies, integrated approaches to control
these pests need to be developed and/or verified if already
available. Post-harvest losses from insects needs serious
consideration especially for warmer areas in the terai/
inner-terai and the foothills where maize is stored for
longer durations. Better drying and storage facilities are
required to protect the grain from pests. At the same
time varieties that are genetically resistant to field and
storage pest attacks need to be developed.
Farmers often complained that they have difficulty
accessing technological information. The present
extension system needs to provide technological
information more effectively and efficiently. Strong
communication and links between researchers, extension
workers, and farmers is also needed. The involvement
of extension staff, particularly DADO subject matter
specialists (SMS) in outreach research activities, joint
planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation is
needed. In all the steps of on-farm research, farmers'
participation should be sought as far as possible. A
complete technology package should be introduced along
with improved seeds. In addition to production technology,
improved post-harvest practices such as storage,
processing, and different maize uses should be included
in extension messages.
Adoption of improved technologies is very low in the
mid-western and far-western midhills and all of the
highhills (agro-ecology-3 and 5) compared to other agro-
ecologies. While non-availability of maize varieties for
these environments is a major problem, the extension
service has failed to disseminate varieties that are
available. The situation is worse in remote areas where
extension personnel are unwilling to stay. It is strongly
recommended that the extension system needs to reorient
and make it mandatory that extension personnel spend
at least 75% of their time in villages.
Technological information is not a major constraining
factor in the terai (agro-ecology-4), as farmers are better
exposed to modem technology. However, the situation
is not the same for the eastern and western parts and
remote villages within the agro-ecology. Because some
NGOs are active in relatively accessible area and near
the towns, and there are agro-vets who also serve as
sources of information, the extension network should
dedicate itself to more remote villages.
Input Supply and Output Marketing
Seed is a key input and there is always a shortage of
quality seed in the midhills and highhills (agro-ecology- 1,
2, 3 and 5). Seed requirements for summer maize
cultivation in the midhills and highhills can be fulfilled
from winter maize produced in the valleys and terai/inner-
terai (agro-ecology-4). Farmers' groups in the area
should be utilized for the production of commercial seed.
It would be helpful to producers to get a premium price
for the maize they produce and at the same time the
seed demand of the hill districts could be met. Government
policy should favour the establishment of seed enterprises
and community based seed supply systems should be
With the withdrawal of AIC from subsidized input
delivery, some provisions for input supply are urgently
needed. The Nepalese government needs to formulate
policies with regards to the private sector involvement in
input supply. The present system of a dual policy34 should
An alternative to improve the supply of fertilizer is to
mobilize farmers. By organizing farmers into groups they
may be able to access short-term loans to purchase inputs.
These groups can also facilitate the marketing of surplus.
This model has been already tested by some NGOs and
found to be effective.
The marketing of produce has been a neglected area in
the past and has created a bottleneck in promoting
production. Major efforts are needed to develop market
infrastructure. As motorable roads now connect many
places in the hills, marketing activities can be promoted
by developing market centers along these roads. Some
training on post harvest handling of grains including grading
is also required.
The problem of input supply in the midhills of the mid
and far-western development region (agro-ecology-3)
and the highhills (agro-ecology-5), where the use of
improved seed, fertilizer, and plant protection chemicals
are very low, is different from other agro-ecologies.
Also no spring maize is cultivated in Khet lands of these
two agro-ecologies. Therefore, arrangements need to
be made to supply maize seeds from the terai.
Alternatively, farmers need to be trained and supplied
with appropriate technology to minimize storage losses.
As the use of fertilizers is very low, the government
needs to provide incentives for fertilizer use and assure
Policy and Institutional Arrangements
The main responsibility of maize technology generation
should be shouldered by NMRP/NARC in association
with International Agricultural Research Centers
(IARCs) such as CIMMYT. Development of high
yielding and resistant varieties for the different agro-
ecologies will be the primary responsibility of the NMRP.
The NMRP needs to collaborate with agricultural
research stations located in different parts of the country,
Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences (IAAS) and
I/NGOs working in similar fields. The private sector,
coordinated by the Department of Agriculture (DOA)35,
should come forward in seed multiplication and
dissemination. NMRP should also work closely with the
DOA to identify and disseminate improved crop
management practices. Details on the research
approaches to be adopted and potential suppliers of
technology are presented in Annex-3.
The AIC, the government undertaking to trade agricultural
inputs, has not completely withdrawn itself from the seed
industry nor it has been supplying maize seeds effectively.
The private sector is unwilling to enter into maize seed
industry because of risks associated with unwarranted
and sudden policy shifts of the government. Therefore,
public and private sector roles should be clearly defined,
and a stable policy needs to be formulated to attract the
private sector to the seed industry.
Since farmers reported sales of fake fertilizers, lab-testing
of fertilizers before distribution or other quality control
mechanisms are needed. One option might be to establish
simple laboratories at major entry points to test fertilizers
imported into the country and make it mandatory for
every consignment to go through the test.
While it is increasingly clear that the demand of hybrid
maize seed is growing very fast in the country,
especially in the terai (agro-ecology-4), the exact size
of the potential market is not known. Equally unknown
is the annual quantity of hybrid maize seed imported
from India due to its disorganized trade. The
government needs to make the necessary formal
arrangements to import commercial hybrid seed until
it is produced in the country.
34. The private sector and AIC sell fertilizer at prices fixed by the government. Being a government organization, the AIC gets an indirect
subsidy which the private sector does not.
35. DOA has District Agricultural Development Offices in all 75 districts under its control.
Seed quality is a sensitive but often neglected area. In imported into the country. This could be an effective
the absence of laws and by-laws, the seed act of 1988 is incentive to boost maize production in relatively
yet to be fully and effectively implemented. The DOA accessible areas. It is recommended that the DOA
needs to carefully review the problems associated with coordinate with the Department of Industries and Royal
the seed sector and develop appropriate policy measures. Nepal Academy for Science and Technology and
introduce appropriate technology to establish these
The government also needs to create an environment industries in the country.
to establish maize based industries to replace the large
quantity of maize products (corn flakes, oil, starch) being 0
Adhikari K. 2000. Maize Research Strategy in Nepal. In: Adhikari A.and B. Batsa (eds). Proceedings of the 22nd
National Summer Crops Workshop. Rampur/Chitwan, Nepal: National Maize Research Program. Pp. 25-36.
Agricultural Projects Services Center (APROSC). 1998. Poverty Situation Analysis of Nepal, KaIluliua i,
Agricultural Projects Services Center (APROSC) and John MellorAssociates Inc (JMA). 1995. Nepal: Agriculture
Perspective Plan Kathmandu, Nepal: APROSC and JMA.
Agricultural Statistics Division, MOA. 1998. Statistical Information on Nepalese Agriculture 1997/98, Kathmandu,
Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). 1997. Nepal Living Standard Survey Report. Kathmandu, Nepal: CBS.
Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). 1999. Statistical Year Book of Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal: CBS.
International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). 1997. Districts of Nepal: Indicators of
Development. Kathmandu, Nepal: ICIMOD.
K.C. Ganesh. 2000. Post-harvest losses in maize: review of findings of rural save grain project. In: Manandhar,
D.N., J.K. Ransom, and N.P. Rajbhandari (eds). Developing and Disseminating Technology to Reduce
Postharvest Losses in Maize Proceedings of a Working Group Meeting of the Hill Maize Research
Project. Kathmandu, Nepal: NARC and CIMMYT. pp. 47-49.
Marketing Development Division, DOA. 1997, 1998, and 1999. Agricultural Marketing Information Bulletin,
Special Issues. Kathmandu, Nepal: DOA.
National Planning Commission (NPC) Secretariat. 1994. Agricultural Statistics of Nepal: Revised Cropped Area
Series (1974/75-1991-92). Kathmandu, Nepal: NPC.
Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).1999. Quarterly Economic Bulletin. Vol. XXXIV. Kathmandu, Nepal: NRB.
Nepal South Asia Center. 1998. Nepal Human Development Report. Kathmandu, Nepal : Nepal South Asia
District Agriculture Development Offices of Surveyed Districts. 1998. Annual Agriculture Development Program
and Achievement [In Nepali] : Respective districts.
Paudyal K.R. and S. Poudel. 1999. Impacts of maize research in nepal. Paper presented at the Second Annual
Workshop oftheAsian Maize Socio-Economic Working Group held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 25-28 May 1999.
Rajbhandari N.P. 2000. Declining soil fertility constrains maize production in the hills -Areview of recent surveys of
farmers practices, perceptions, and conceptualizing a basis for proper targeting of maize research in the
hills. In: Tripathi, B.P, N.P. Rajbhandari and J.K. Ransom (eds). Improved Soil Fertility Management for
Sustainable Maize Production Proceedings of a Working Group Meeting of the Hill Maize Research
Project 16-18 August, 2000. Kathmandu, Nepal: NARC. pp.10-20.
World Bank. 1980. Poverty and Human Development. New York,US: Oxford.
Annex-1: Major maize production systems relative to altitude and agro-ecology.
Valleys in the
Area under the
agro ecologies in
Altitude land type and
500-1800 m Bariland
< 500 m
Dominant cropping system
Sole maize -winter crops
Maize millet relay
Rice wheat/ potato-maize
Rice-maize and others
Area under the
Note: a Data published by CBS, 1999 does not include winter and spring maize area in the khetland in the terai, inner terai, and foothills.
Source: N.P. Rajbhandari, 2000.
Anaez-2: Nab~ remrch pdmriutmtn tar Nepal
Pmionmum mman -I Eeed u .e b W
wbmW=-- 4~- j09m
HlIt-hile Cru landwesm LackofHYV 1 100 0DA 1.00
Hig-hills Camtral md wesLem So emianm 2 95 0.15 0.60
HIgh iUs ntral and walem Lody iof lcal Va y 90 0.15 0.00
Hi-illam C:trl m wes nem Earrot 4 85 0-10 0.70
Hi-Uhils Cmidal d welatm Weevil 5 s 0.10 0.70
H 6-hill Ctral mad wel Whie an 6 T 0.03 0.0B
H -hi i n and w csn Stnbor s 7 70 0.0 0.15
HiO-bilIs C anda ml Sil cidity B 65 C0.i 0.40
HI liqiLs Easlam DecUnirg soil fertile L 0 0.30 0.30
Hig-hBills Elm UMeavaiiaMi variety for 2 95 0.20 1.00
_______ _________ pmHinz sycm _____
]lighlh Elem I u lMM IM udEry 3. 90 0.15 0.25
HIg1-hilhb atema Lk aof emhmtbog know-bow 4 t5 0.25 1.00
_(h _, ed i menaane)
Hig-bills E a n lT icuii larF igbt 5 0 0.10 0.50
Hligb hills Ealrem Whitegi 6 7 5 .25 0.50
HIgh-hih Eaam Lack ofiproved seeds 7 TO 0.10 0.60
High-hilb Eascm Stak ro 8 45 0.35 0.50
Hig-hills Fi5n St imnrer 9 60 0.)5 0.60
High.hill Eanter Lck of pref variety For taste. 10 55 0.05 1.00
cl. m__nd gri" ruecovry __
Higl.hild Easmem Laooe misk coer 11 50 0.05 I .D
Hil-hills Ematm Lodla 12 45 0.10 0.30
Hish-hills Easr Field criket i3 40 0.M 0.50
High.hllh Mid and Iar wesm I-rk of suitable imnprmvd I 100 0.1 ].DO
High-Nilb Mid and far rwesia Seeds not available 2 95 0.10 0.33
High-hilh Mdldd. for asem Looe husk .o~w 90 0.05 1.00
High-hilk Mid d far wesem Soil fertility decJine 4 B5 0.18 0.16
High.hilk Middand r wetem White pt 5 80 0.05 0.25
High-hilb MId and If wcAsrn Lack of pon-harwves holog_ 6 75 0.10 0.25
Hir-hilb Mid and far waern Lodging 7 70 0.03 0.25
Midhill Cenlra anld wstelm Lack cfihigh.yielding varie6e ] IDO 0.35 0.95
MidhiLUs Caenb and wternlm L.ck of improved variety fir 2 95 0.20 0.90
Midtills Central arid we rm Decl ai soil femrliry 3 90 0.40 0.1
Midhills Central Bd wesoen Tlrcictu tlighi 4 85 i. Li 01.45
Midhills Central and western Law plat populalian 5 80o 0.20 .90
Midlills Ce ral atd wesLem Wead 6 75 0.15 0.90
Midiille Centr l ad wcsteu Soilf e ion 70 0.15 070
Midjiills Cenrrl And w term Semborers 1 65 0.03 .90
Midlills Central and wcsnm Ear rot 9 60 0.08 0.85
Midhills Cermrl awd wesnm White grub ID 55 0.05 o.741
MIhills centrall and wamst Soil acidity I1I 50 .05 0.65
Midhills atenf Decli ing soiffrtiity I 100 0.40 ) 60
Midhills EastemT Labcr shortage Fr finrt weeding 2 95 0.20 1.00
MidhUlA EmaLnm I of lnmprovd seed 3 90 0.11 35
Midhills Easter Lw* of variety foT rmrizeillAl 4 8~ 4,20 I 00
____ compalii lib_
Continued on next page...
Annex 2 Continued........
ui S *hr '.' t m .inail ]n .t M
Midhills EarsW Lack of timngoSmn bn Io al 35 0.10 LO00
Midhills E.temn Whit grub 6 75 0.10 0-50
Midhills Eant Lack technology know-how 7 70 0.1 0-2
(hiusbadry. seed main ane)
MIdMllls Etasnm Storae pa hIms (due to mo i 8 65 0.10 0,73
Miikinls Eamcr Tuicum ief" bbligl 9 6(i 0.10 1.00
Midhills Eahern Loose huisk cover 10 55 0.4 1.00
Mildhlls Esiomm Lack oif arkt iad giod priMc II O50
Midills EICasr Lack of ly-ri vwkty for 12 45 0,05 1,M
Midills Eamim Stalk mr 13 40 0.05 0.75
MIlll as~em Eat rm 14 3 0.03 1.0
MiOiils Ealmn S4cmbrerm 15 3J 0.L0 0.75
Mitills Fsptcm Silk bI ll 16 25 0.04 0.O6
Miallls Eassm Fleld cric K 17 20 0.04 0.6
Midlille Easumm Aphids IS IS 0.03 0.65
MiMills Mid mad fr ND alIm niuze v iety opion I 100 0.10 1.i0
Miciills Mid ad far Lack of iiminp d ed 2 95 0.L3 0.33
MihUle Mid ad irr TdcMicu bli 3 90 0.08 0.50
Midiills Mid nd fr SoilW sn 4 85 0.18 033
Midhilk Mid ad Ek Ntrisrt minig (lack afp rilim, 5 SO 0.30 0,20
Midhilk Mid ad b Ear rm 6 75 0.03 0.25
MldhUIb Mkd d id r Ttmlbu / hdts gnS 7 70 0.0 0o20
Tcrai ALL Drougt I 100 0.20 0.80
TeWi ALL Lck ofhybrid vmricti 2 95 0.28 1,00
Tewai ALL Lack ofeed supply 3 90 0.10 0.70
Temi ALL Indeque crop inmagin en 4 95 0.213 0.75
Teai ALL Stenbom~ s 5 80 0.09 O.6
Tawi ALL Irnldeqqw po4-bhawt 4 75 0,10 liO,
n ?-- -P p, -1
-7 -7 -- I- 7
Se ee d ddi d C5 6
AR lll~1I :I:
-& kS1L L rrhJJJLL 1 111L I
,IE g %a
r r r I r r
~ ~ %I ~ 51 El ~ ~ 51 ~I ~ 31 ~
I < ~ V( L.47
Annex-4: Available technology options.
The National Maize Research Program (NMRP) has
so far released 15 varieties of improved Open Pollinated
Varieties (OPV) of maize. Among them, nine varieties
are suitable for cultivation in the terai, inner-terai and
foothill agro-ecology, four in midhills agro-ecologies and
two in highhills agro-ecology. Details of these varieties
are presented in Table 22. In addition, eight other
varieties are in the pipeline. They are: Arun-4,
Manakamana-2, Population-22, Pool-21, B.A.-93, Hill
Pool, Pool-15E and Pool-17E. Three of these varieties
(Arun-4, Pool-15E and Pool-17E) are targeted for the
terai/inner terai/foothills and five for the midhills agro-
ecologies. None of these varieties are targeted for the
highhills (NMRP record).
Nepal's program on hybrid maize development began in
1978 with efforts to develop conventional hybrids through
inbreeding plants from well-adapted improved
populations. Among the hybrids tested by the research
center, 17 were found to be superior to Rampur
composite and at par with company hybrids (Adhikari
K. 2000). However, no hybrid maize varieties have been
released in Nepal.
Improved OPV Maize Varieties Released in Nepal
Varieties released Year released Grain Days to Potential yield
colour maturity (ton/ha)
Terai, Inner Terai, and Foothills
Rampur Yellow 1966 Yellow 105 4.70
Hetunda Composite 1972 Yellow 115 4.30
Rampur Composite 1975 Orange 108 4.40
Sarlahi Seto 1978 White 115 4.10
Janaki 1978 White 155 6.50
Arun 2 1982 Yellow 85 2.20
Rampur 2 1989 Yellow 108 4.00
Arun 1 1995 White 100 4.00
Rampur 1 1995 White 115 3.80
1 Khumal Yellow 1966 Yellow 125 4.90
2 Manakamana 1 1986 White 125 4.00
3 Makalu 2 1989 White 145 4.00
4 Ganesh 2 1989 Yellow 165 3.50
1 Kakani Yellow 1966 Orange 195 3.00
2 Ganesh 1 1997 White 175 5.00
Source: Paudyal K.R. and S. Poudel 1999.
Tel: [+977-1] 22984 229846
FaR [+977-11 229804
Natonal Maize, Reearch Program
Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal