Food Crops and Agronomy
Rice is the staple food of the inhabitants of Sri Lanka. Paddy crops is cultivated as a wetland crop in all the districts. The total land devoted for paddy is estimated to be about 708,000 Hectares at present. There are two cultivation seasons namely; Maha and Yala which are synonymous with two monsoons. Maha Season falls during “North-east monsoon” from September to March in the following year. Yala season is effective during the period from May to end of August. When the crop is sown and harvested during above periods, the particular season is defined. However, the whole area devoted for paddy is not being cultivated due to number of reasons such as shortage of water during the seasons, prevailing unsettle conditions on the ground, etc.
Maize is the most important coarse grain, for which around 30,000 ha of land area devoted annually, the second highest extent of land next to rice. Our annual maize requirement is about 200,000 mt from which we import about 125,000 mt at a cost of rupees 1169 million rupees, mainly for utilizing in the provender industry. Local consumption is estimated at 33,000 tons and the requirements for Thriposha and other industries about 8,000 tons and 5,000 tons respectively. In addition to that we import maize products such as corn flakes, corn oil, corn starch and corn flour for different uses. Virtually maize is utilized for production of over 500 different products and bi-products worldwide
Climate and Soil requirements
Deep, loamy, fertile soils, rich in organic matter, are preferred for satisfactory growth. Well-drained soils with adequate moisture supply are required for uninterrupted growth of this crop.By establishing the crops with the on-set of the rainy season, the crops can be harvested before depletion of soil moisture. They can be planted in maha similarly, as with other major crops that need 3-3? Months to mature and a longer rainy season for uninterrupted growth.
Deep ploughing up to 45 cm is favourable for maize that have deep growth. Ridges can be made at 60cm apart for maize planting. Seeds are planted on ridges to avoid water logging in heavy rainy periods. Sufficient drains are provided to drain off excess water during rainy periods.