Farmers of Koyra upazila in Khulna start farming sunflower on the saline soils experimentally Dhaka Tribune

In Khulna, the crop has been cultivated on 29 hectares of land in nine upazilas of the district this year, reports our correspondent Hedait Hossain Molla

Farmers in several areas of the country are becoming increasingly interested in sunflower farming, as the business is a profitable one.

In Khulna, the crop has 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 started farming sunflowers on the saline soils experimentally and they are now expecting good profit from it.

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

During a recent visit to sunflower fields at Chandipur village and Koyra-2 village under Amadi union in the upazila, it was found 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 lands.

“I’ve grown sunflowers on 15 bigha of land,” said Subhas Mandal, a local farmer.

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

ARI Scientific Assistant Zahid Hasan said salinity-tolerant sunflowers were cultivated on one hectare of saline land at Koira’s Chandipur and Koira-2 villages.

 “I visited the land regularly and gave the farmers necessary suggestions,” he said.

Earlier, sunflowers were cultivated on an experimental basis in Uttar Bedkashi Union and Koira-3 village in the upazila, Zahid said.

Salinity-tolerant sunflowers were cultivated at the villages under the supervision of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Khulna.

BARI Chief Scientific Officer Dr Md Harunur Rashid said sunflower is a salt tolerant crop. In the south region of the country, vast tracts of land remain fallow after harvesting Aman paddy. 

“It is difficult to grow any other crop easily as there’s salt in the soil and water but sunflowers can be cultivated with two irrigations,” he added. 

In Netrakona, for the first time, cultivation of sunflowers has started on the highlands of Netrakona Haor area. Farmers are expecting bumper yield of sunflowers, reports a correspondent.

Sunflower cultivation has begun on 53 hectares of land in seven upazilas of the district this year. The Department of Agricultural Extension is supplying fertiliser and seeds as incentives to the farmers.

Farmers said paddy cultivation in the Haor area is not very profitable. The amount of money spent on paddy cultivation is not recoverable. So they are expecting more profits from sunflower cultivation than other crops.

Khaliajuri Upazila Agriculture Officer Habibur Rahman said the cost of cultivating sunflowers is less than other crops since it takes less fertiliser , and one does not even have to take care of the field.

In Meherpur, under experimental cultivation, a total of 18 bigha of land of this have been brought under the sunflower cultivation. In the district, sunflowers have been farmed on 27 bigha, reports a correspondent.

Deputy Director of BADC in Meherpur Abdullah Al Mamun also said the cost of sunflower cultivation is less than that of other crops as it requires less fertiliser.

In Chapainawabganj,a total of 240 bigha of land have been brought under sunflower cultivation in the district this year, reports our correspondent Dulal Abdullah.

For the first time farmers are cultivating sunflower in char areas of Sadar and Shibganj upazilas and there is a huge potential for cultivation of sunflower in the district as a surplus of agricultural production, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Mohammad Nazrul Islam said.

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