TODAY -

Commercial sweet corn production strategies in Manipur

Dr Th Renuka Devi / Prof Ph Ranjit Sharma *



Agriculture sector contributes a major share to the total State domestic product and provides employment to about 22.13 percent (according to 2011 census) of the total population in Manipur.

There are 18 (eighteen) main crops which are cultivated during the two seasons in the State. Among the cereals, rice and maize are the two most important in an area of 224.38 and 26.19 thousand hectares respectively. Maize is the second most important crop, next to rice and is mostly grown under rainfed hilly upland conditions, thus more popular among hill people.

Even though maize is cultivated throughout the year in most of the States in this country for various purposes including grain, feed, fodder, green cobs, sweet corn, baby corn, popcorn and industrial products, its cultivation in Manipur is restricted during summer, starting from April and extended upto July using local types mainly for production of green cobs.

With the advent of AICRP (Maize) at Central Agricultural University, Imphal cultivation of sweet corn is introduced in the last few years and is being popularized among the farmers and consumers. As per available data currently this crop is cultivated in 20 hectares covering some parts of Imphal East, Bishnupur, Thoubal and Ukhrul districts of Manipur. However, demand is increasing tremendously in the State.

Then, what is SWEET CORN ?

“Sweet corn, or sugar corn, is a special, low-starch variety with higher sugar content, at 18% of the dry weight, but natural sugars that occur in plants. Most of the sugar is sucrose and it is not a high-glycemic food, ranking low or medium on the glycemic index (GI).” Sweet corn is the result of a naturally occurring recessive mutation in the genes which control conversion of sugar to starch inside the endosperm of the corn kernel.

Corn is high in carbs and packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. It’s also relatively low in protein and fat.

One cup (164 grams) of sweet yellow corn contains
o Calories: 177 calories
o Carbs: 41 grams (mainly starch)
o Protein: 5.4 grams
o Fat: 2.1 grams
o Fiber: 4.6 grams
o Vitamin C: 17% of the daily value (DV)
o Thiamine (vitamin B1): 24% of the DV
o Folate (vitamin B9): 19% of the DV
o Magnesium: 11% of the DV
o Potassium: 10% of the DV

Strategies:

Why sweet corn is becoming important in States like Manipur

o Climate Change
o Sweet corn with varied use has a great potential in export as well as domestic market.
o Sweet corn matures early and green ears can be harvested in 80-90 days after planting depending on the variety and time of sowing
o The left over stalk can serve as useful fodder for the livestock.
o Thus it can fit easily in multiple or inter cropping systems

Can persons with sugar problems eat sweet corn ?

o Yes, you can eat corn even if you have sugar problem.
o Corn is a source of energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It’s also low in sodium and fat.
o Phytochemicals present in corn can regulate the absorption and release of insulin in the body, which can prevent sudden spikes and drops in your blood sugar
o The antioxidants in corn come from ferulic acid, which has been linked to cancer prevention. Even though it scores a medium on the glycemic index, it is high in niacin and potassium.

Its lutein and beta carotene levels have been linked to cognitive brain function retention.
o Phytonutrients found in corn inhibit ACE, lowering the risk of high blood pressure.

What are the advantages of cultivating Sweet Corn?

o Increase in demand as a part of a healthy diet so rated as high value crop
o Being a short duration crop, it can easily fit into any sequential cropping system.
o High Return

How can it be used ?

o Sweet corn can be produced as fresh (green cob), frozen and canned for commercial purposes.
o Sweet corn cob can be eaten boiled, steamed, or grilled whole; the kernels are then eaten directly off the cob or cut off. In Europe and Asia they are often used as a pizza topping or in salads.
o The left over stalk can serve as useful fodder for the livestock
o Creamed corn is sweet corn served in a milk or cream sauce. Sweet corn can also be eaten as baby corn.
o The fresh market accounts for nearly 74 percent of the value of the sweet corn crop in Florida, California, Washington, New York and Georgia and are also the largest producers of sweet corn.

Business plan:

1. Fixed assets required

Adapted area/land : Good fertile soil minimum size of 1 ha
Labor Requirements : 80 mandays right from land preparation upto harvesting
Equipment Requirements : Tractor, shredder, disk, bedder, planter, insect/disease sprayer, cultivator
Soil Requirements : Medium to heavy soils preferred
Water Requirements : Sweet corn needs 20 – 35 acre-inches of water. Critical water peaks are during pre-tassle and kernel fill.

2. Cost of production/ha = Rs. 1,23,900/- (A+B)

A Material cost
Seed : Rs. 21,000/-(6 kg/ha X Rs. 3500/kg seed)
FYM : Rs. 50,000/-(5 tonnes/ha @ Rs.10,000/tone)
Chemical Fertilizers : Rs.10,000/- (at 100:50:40 kg NPK per ha)
PP Chemicals Plus Irrigation cost : Rs. 10,000/-
Sub-Total Rs. 91,000/- (A)

B. Labour cost

Land Preparation (ha) : Rs. 8750/-(25 mandays @ Rs.350/manday)
Sowing : Rs. 7,000/- (20 mandays @ Rs.350/manday)
Weeding &Earthing up : Rs. 8750/- (25 mandays @ Rs.350/manday)
Fertilizer application & Spraying 2 times Rs. 2,800/- (8 mandays @ Rs.350/manday)
Harvesting : Rs. 5,600/-(16 mandays @ Rs.350/manday)
Sub-Total Rs. 32,900/- (B)
Cost of production/ha = Rs. 1,23,900/- (A+B)

3. Expected Gross Return/ha = Rs. 4, 70,000/- for 1 hectare area = Rs. 1, 17,500 for 1 Sangam area

Variety Identified : Golden Cob F1, Honey Max
Gross Sales Proceeds/ha Rs.5, 00,000/- @ Rs. 10/- per cob for 50000 cobs yielded from 50,000 plants (appx.)i.e. 50,000 X Rs. 10/- = Rs. 5,00,000
Selling Expenses/ha Rs. 30,000/-
Net Sales proceeds/ha Gross sales – Selling expenses = 5,00,000–30,000=Rs. 4,70,000/- Net Profit/ha
Cost of Production–Net sales Proceeds = 4,70,000– 1,23,000=Rs 3,47,000/- (86,750/sangam)
Profit p.c. (Profit X 100)/Cost of Production = (3,47,000 X100)/1,23,900 = 280.06%

Marketing:

Market Outlets Food service, grocery stores, farmers markets, roadside, pick-your-own
Market Potential Good for local sales of high quality product

Outcome:

o Solving the problem of unemployed youths to some extent
o At least some persons of the total population will have the chance to be exposed to healthy diets

For further details contact:-
Public Relation & Media Management Cell,
CAU, Imphal. Email: prmmcell@gmail.com


* Dr Th Renuka Devi / Prof Ph Ranjit Sharma wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writers are Associate Professor (Plant Breeding), COA, CAU, Imphal and
Director of Extension Education, Central Agricultural University, Imphal
This article was webcasted on October 21 2021.



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