Centre to launch separate programme for raising sunflower acreage
Taking heed of the industry’s suggestion, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has directed officials to prepare a target-oriented detailed action plan on raising sunflower acreage at the earliest. This to help launch some pilot projects n the ensuing kharif season as sowing is scheduled to commence after two months.
Holds discussion with States
Chairing a meeting on promoting area and production of sunflower in the country on Thursday, Tomar said the way pulses, oilseeds and National Oil Palm missions have been launched in the country, sunflower will also be promoted in a planned manner. He held detailed discussions with State officials from Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, who evinced interest in implementing any such Central scheme when it is launched.
Participating in the discussion, oilseeds industry representatives requested the government for a separate mini-mission. It willl ensure seed availability prevent pest attacks to improve yield and provide marketing support apart from offering insurance cover for the crop.
Even though the average yield of sunflower has increased to 931 kg/hectare in 2019-20 from 603 kg/hectare in 2015-16, the production has gone down due to shrinking acreage in the last few years. Until 2007-08 sunflower production was around 15 lakh tonnes (lt) and area of about 20 lakh hectares. After this the area under the crop began to decline. Now, it estimated to be 2.66 lt in 2021-22 from an area of 2.7 lakh hectares.
Tomar also announced that a sub-committee consisting of all the major State governments and stakeholders like edible oil manufacturers and seed industry associations under the Agriculture Commissioner would work out the roadmap. Urging the States to increase the production of sunflower, he assured all kinds of support to them.
Joint Secretary Shubha Thakur presented the sunflower crop scenario in the country as the crop is now confined to Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, while Punjab and Haryana are also encouraging paddy farmers to adopt it. However, Thakur said there is potential to raise the area under sunflower in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
Officials from UP said the success model of mustard needs to be replicated for sunflower, while Karnataka has assured to continue area expansion programme in marginal lands, especially during the Rabi season where there is assured irrigation, an official statement said. Andhra Pradesh has agreed to promote sunflower cultivation in the paddy area, especially where borewells are installed. While Punjab is ready for area expansion, Haryana already has a plan in place to expand the area in potato fallow area of about 12,000 hectares.
March 31, 2022