MAIZE PRODUCTION

Maize is the most important cereal crop in Uganda providing over 40% of the calories consumed in both rural and urban areas. The crop has increasingly become a staple food in many parts of the country. Small scale farmers who constitute the bulk (80%) of the rural poor also account for the largest share of maize production. It is grown in every part of the country and a direct source of livelihood to over 2 million households, over 1,000 traders/merchants and over 600 millers. Increasingly, maize has become a major non-traditional export cash crop particularly benefiting smallholder farmers

Maize Production

GROWING CONDITIONS

It is critical to have a good understanding of

Environmentsoil ph

This includes:

  • History of the farm – previous cropping pattern, fallow, virgin land etc.
  • agro-ecological zone (altitude)
  • rainfall (pattern & amount) – planting season
  • ambient temperatures
  • Soil characteristics – soil temperatures, soil pH, fertility & nutrition, moisture levels etc.
  • weeds, insect and disease prevalence

Ecological Requirements

Soils

Maize requires well-drained soils with a good supply of nutrients and moisture. It cannot withstand even a slight degree of waterlogging and therefore can be killed if stands in water for a day. Preferred soil for maize production should also be deep, well-aerated with moderate pH 5.5-6.5, and rich in organic matter.

Altitude

Maize grows well at all altitudes but particular varieties are more suitable for the different altitudes ranging from 0 to 2,900 m above sea level (a.s.l.) The optimum temperature for maize growth is 30 °C

pH

The maize crop generally grows well over a pH range of 5.5 – 7.8. The effect of pH outside this range is usually to make certain elements less available so that toxicity or deficiencies develops. Avoid the use of excess fertilizer especially those mentioned above.

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