Commercial sweet corn production strategies in Manipur
Dr Th Renuka Devi and 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
· Calories: 177 calories
· Carbs: 41 grams (mainly starch)
· Protein: 5.4 grams
· Fat: 2.1 grams
· Fiber: 4.6 grams
· Vitamin C: 17% of the daily value (DV)
· Thiamine (vitamin B1): 24% of the DV
· Folate (vitamin B9): 19% of the DV
· Magnesium: 11% of the DV
· Potassium: 10% of the DV
Why sweet corn is becoming important in States like Manipur
• Climate Change
• Sweet corn with varied use has a great potential in export as well as domestic market.
• Sweet corn matures early and green ears can be harvested in 80-90 days after planting depending on the variety and time of sowing
• The left over stalk can serve as useful fodder for the livestock.
•Thus it can fit easily in multiple or inter cropping systems
Can persons with sugar problems eat sweet corn ?
• Yes, you can eat corn even if you have sugar problem.
• Corn is a source of energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It’s also low in sodium and fat.
• 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
• 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. (To be contd)