Maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the most important cereal grains grown worldwide in a wider range of environments because of its greater adaptability (Kogbe and Adediran, 2003). It is mainly used as a food source and now has become the most important raw material for animal feed (Pimentel and Patzek, 2005). Maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the main source of cereals for food, forage and processed industrial products.
World production of maize is around 790 million tones and it serves as a staple food providing more than one-third of the calories and proteins in some countries (Chulze., 2010 ). By 2050 demand for maize will double in the developing world, and maize is predicted to become the crop with the greatest production globally, and in the developing world by 2025 (Rosegrant et al., 2008).
Maize (Zea Mays, referred to as corn in North America) originated in central Mexico in around 5,000 BC. The crop was introduced to Europe in the sixteenth century, from where it spread to Africa and Asia. It is now one of the most widely-grown crops around the world in both temperate and tropical regions.
Major consumption of the maize grain is in poultry feed. There are over 200 industrial uses of maize products including starch in cotton yarn manufacturing and bonding of corrugated board, production of textile dyes, alcohol and acetone. Recently, it has emerged as an important and potential source of bio-fuel or green petrol to meet future energy requirements.
In India, maize is traditionally grown in monsoon (Kharif) season, which is accompanied by high temperature (< 35o C) and rains. However, with the development of new cultivars and appro22priate production technology, winter cultivation of maize has emerged as a viable alternative. Soil texture is a foremost as it controls moisture and nutrient capacity. Loam or silt loam surface soil and brown silt clay loam having fairly permeable sub soil are the ideal soil types for cultivation of maize.
Deep fertile soils rich in organic matter and well-drained soils are the most preferred ones however maize can be grown on variety of soils. Soil pH in the range of 7.5 to 8.5 supports good crop growth, however, at pH beyond these extremes, problems of toxicity are found with certain elements and essential nutrients. Since about 85% of maize in India is grown during monsoon season, where over 80% of the total annual precipitation is received, it thus is very imperative for the soil to have adequate water holding capacity as also the proper drainage to minimize damage due to water logging and seed and seedling diseases.
Pro-vitamin A maize (PVA) is a special type of biofortified maize that contains high levels of beta-carotene. Beta-Carotene is an organic, red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits and gives PVA maize an orange color. It is converted to vitamin A in the body after consumption to provide additional nutritional benefits.
Biofortification enhances the nutritional value of staple food crops by increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop through either conventional plant breeding, agronomic practices or biotechnology. This can significantly reduce the prevalence of “hidden hunger” due to micronutrient deficiency
The objective of this study is to evaluate the agronomic performance of pro-vitamin A enriched open-maize variety in the study area