• Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Salinity no longer a barrier for sunflower farming

  • Published at 12:09 am April 2nd, 2021
Sunflowers bloom in saline soil conditions at Pankhali village
Sunflowers bloom in saline soil conditions at Pankhali village in Dacope upazila of Khulna Dhaka Tribune

As sunflower is salinity-tolerant crop, there is huge potential for sunflower cultivation in coastal regions

Sunflower cultivation has achieved success in the saline fallow lands of the coastal area of Khulna.

According to the Khulna District Agricultural Extension Department officials, 38 metric tons of sunflower seeds were produced on 19 hectares of land in the district in the 2016-2017 financial year. In the 2017-2018 financial year, nine metric tonnes of sunflower seeds were produced by cultivating sunflowers on five hectares in the district.

In the 2018-2019 financial year, two metric tons of sunflower seeds were produced on one hectare of land in the district. Then in the fiscal year 2019-2020 (Rabi), 32 metric tons of Kharif-1 variety of sunflower seeds were cultivated in a total area of 14 hectares in the district. This year, sunflowers have been cultivated on more than 14 hectares of land, they said.

Sources said salinization of soil was a serious problem in the coastal regions of the country as it had adverse effects on crop production. Despite the challenge, farmers in Khulna’s coastal areas have shown success in cultivating sunflowers on fallow saline land.

New possibilities have been created to meet the demand for high quality sunflower oil.  Farmers are also expecting bumper yields at low cost.

Sunflowers have been cultivated on 29 hectares of land in nine upazilas of the district this year, reports our correspondent Hedait Hossain Molla.

Farmers in Koyra upazila cultivated sunflowers on saline soil experimentally and are now expecting good profits from it.

Some farmers said they started cultivating sunflowers on their land in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) and the yield looked to be very good.

A visit to the sunflower fields at Chandipur village and Koyra-2 village under Amadi union in the upazila, revealed that one hectare of land covered with yellow sunflowers had brought luck for farmers.

The department has been successful in cultivating sunflowers on an experimental basis on saline fallow land.

As the saline land remained unused after Aman cultivation, the ARI advised farmers to cultivate sunflowers on the land. They provided farmers with fertilizers, seeds and pesticides to bring the land under cultivation.

Sunflower seeds have been sown in wet soil here by “dibbling method” after harvesting Aman paddy in mid-November.  Then the roots of the seedlings were tied and fertilizer was applied. 

Three varieties have been used in the study- Local, Bari Suryamukhi-2 and Haisan-33.  Of these, the yield of the Haisan-33 variety has been good. 

According to the chief scientific officer of the Centre for Salinity Management and Research, sunflowers are a salinity-tolerant crop.  As a result, there is huge potential for sunflower cultivation in coastal areas, reports UNB.

As it is an excellent oil crop, it will meet the demand of sunflower oil, which is very beneficial for human health.  This technology needs to be spread across the southern region to encourage farmers to cultivate sunflowers, he added. 

Under the Gopalganj-Khulna-Bagerhat-Satkhira-Pirojpur Agriculture Development Project (SRDI), research is being conducted on sunflower cultivation in the Salinity Management and Research Center of Batiaghata upazila of Khulna, where sunflower seeds have been sown in wet soil by dubbing method after harvesting Aman paddy. Then the roots of the seedlings were tied and fertiliser was applied. Three varieties of species have been used in the study. Local, Bari Sunflower-2 and Hysun-33, all bear fruit. Of these, the yield of Hysun-33 has been good. 

Batiaghata Upazila Agriculture Officer Rabiul Islam Janan said sunflower is a salinity-tolerant crop.  Its seeds contain 40-45 percent linoleic acid.  Also, it is beneficial for heart patients.