Quality Protein Maize (QPM): Nutrition, Scopes & Challenges: Eishaina Chaudhary

 Author: Eishaina chaudhary
Bsc.Ag 2nd sem 
IAAS pakhlihawa


Maize cultivation is a way of life for most farmers in the hills of Nepal. Maize cultivation in Nepal is one of the major cultivation in Nepal. It is a traditional crop cultivated as food, feed and fodder on slopping Bari land in the hills. It is grown under rainfed conditions during the summer as a single crop or relayed with millet later in the season. In terai, inner terai, valleys, and low- lying river basins areas maize is also grown in the winter and spring with irrigation.


Maize production as a proportion of total cereal production was 33% for highhills, 39% for the midhills, and 9% for terai. More than 2/3 of the maize produced in the midhills and highills is used for direct human consumption at the farm level and the ratio of human consumption to total production is higher in less accessible areas.

Breeding for improved protein quality in maize began in the mid-1960s. Interdisciplinary and concerted research efforts led to amelioration of the negative features of the opaque phenotype, and the rebirth of ‘Quality Protein Maize’ (QPM). QPM holds superior nutritional and biological value and is essentially interchangeable with normal maize in cultivation and kernel phenotype.

Poshilo makai -1 is the first quality maize (QPM) variety to be released in Nepal. It has attractive white cobs and provides a great option to improve the nutritional quality of people and animals due to higher content of lysine and tryptophan in the endosperm of the kernels are about twice higher than in Common varieties. Its name is fitting: Poshilo is a Nepali word meaning nutritious. QPM development involves manipulating three distinct genetic system:

  1. a) The simple recessive allele of the opaque2 gene;
  2. b) Modifiers/enhancers of the o2-containing endosperm to confer higher

lysine and tryptophan levels; and

  1. c) Genes that modify the o2-induced soft endosperm to hard endosperm.

Nutritive value of QPM

The QPM has got special distinction among the cereal due to presence of high amount of lysine and tryptophan, therefore QPM can be utilized for diversified purposes in food and nutritional security. It is also useful in fulfilling the protein requirement of different sections of society to prevent malnutrition. QPM with high carbohydrates, fats, better quality protein, some of vitamins and minerals, it is nutritious feed for poultry, livestock, swine, fish, etc. Use of QPM as feed leads to early development of broilers, save energy and feed and also extra cost on lysine and tryptophan.

Besides doubling the biologically usable protein in a maize diet, QPM also confers the following nutritional benefits: better leucine: isoleucine ratio; higher niacin availability; higher calcium availability when eaten in the form of lime treated maize; higher carotene bio-utilization in yellow QPM; and higher carbohydrate utilization. maize is a dominant crop, demonstrated the positive effect of QPM on both the height and weight of children aged 7 to 56 months. Children consuming CM showed a decrease in both height-for-age and weight-for age over time, while children fed QPM did not show significant change in height-for-age but their weight-for-age increased marginally.

it is nutritious feed for poultry, livestock, swine, fish, etc. Use of QPM as feed leads to early development of broilers, save energy and feed and also extra cost on lysine and tryptophan.

QPM opportunities and challenges

  •  Although QPM has many nutritional advantages, there are many challenges in the wider adoption of QPM varieties. some of them are mentioned below.
  • Nutritional contents like lysine and tryptophan are phenotypically invisible, therefore, it is challenging to convince the growers, traders, dealers and consumers about the nutritional profile of varieties.
  • Misconception about the low yielding potential of nutritionally rich crops like QPM is demotivating the growers to adopt the QPM varieties.
  • Deterioration or dilution of nutritional quality of QPM varieties due to foreign pollen of non-QPM varieties is also a serious concern of produce quality.
  • Most of the QPM germplasm was developed for tropical and sub-tropical regions, whereas little work was done for QPM development in temperate maize. Therefore, QPM germplasm of tropical and sub-tropical background give lower yield and stability under temperate conditions due to lack of adaptation

Despites of all above challenges, there are many opportunities to enhance the QPM adoption as maize demand is expected to rise in near future due to population growth and food security issues .

  • Provision of subsidized seed or other inputs like fertilizers, etc. may further contribute to wider adoption of QPM varieties.
  • Shifting to QPM provides a balanced protein source compared to NM without penalty of yield, energy, micronutrients and without changing the food supply system
  • Development of high yielding and stable QPM varieties for different maturity groups and different ecologies may provide effective opportunity to widen the adoption spectrum of these varieties
  • Declaration of minimum support price or premium price for biofortified maize grains in the market would also encourage the growers to produce more biofortified crops
  • Educating the farming communities through extension services can greatly enhance the adoption of QPM varieties.

हाम्रो मोबाइल एप डाउनलोड गर्नुभयो ? अब सबै खाले कृषि मापक, अर्गानिक कृषि, नवीनतम कृषि, व्यावसायिक पशुपालन, खेती प्रविधि, बाली रोग तथा किरा व्यवस्थापन सहित सम्पूर्ण कृषि प्रविधिसम्बन्धि जानकारीको लागि हाम्रो एप डाउनलोड गर्न तलको फोटोमा Click गर्नुहोला |

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