Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said a target of farming sunflower on 265 hectares of land has been fixed to produce 555 tons of the oil seeds for all five districts in the region during the current Rabi season
On account of lucrative markets prices and getting special assistance from the government, enthusiastic farmers have exceeded the fixed sunflower farming target by 5.31 times in Rangpur agriculture region.
Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said a target of farming sunflower on 265 hectares of land has been fixed to produce 555 tons of the oil seeds for all five districts in the region during the current Rabi season.
“However, farmers have cultivated the crop on 1,407 hectares of land exceeding the fixed farming target by 5.31 times or 431 percent this season in the region,” Deputy Director of the DAE at its regional office Agriculturist Md. Moniruzzaman said.
Earlier, farmers cultivated sunflower on 75 hectares of land and produced 150 tonnes of the oil seeds in the region last season when they sold their produce at Taka 70 per kg.
Getting special agriculture incentive and assistance under the post- flood agriculture rehabilitation programs, farmers have enhanced sunflower cultivation across the region, including char areas, this season.
The government has provided special incentive and post-flood agriculture rehabilitation assistance to 14,300 farmers of Rangpur, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat and Nilphamari districts in the region to inspire them in sunflower cultivation.
“Of them, 3,000 farmers received 1.50 kg of seeds with 10 kg of Di- ammonium Phosphate (DAP) and Muriate of Potash (MoP) fertilisers each as special incentive for cultivation of sunflower on one bigha of land each,” Moniruzzaman said.
Besides, 11,300 farmers got 1.50 kg of seeds for farming sunflower on one bigha of land each under the post-flood agriculture rehabilitation program in the region to enhance production of the oil seeds this season.
“This time, farmers have cultivated sunflower on 377 hectares of land in Rangpur, on 490 hectares in Gaibandha and on 195 hectares in Kurigram, on 80 hectares in Lalmonirhat and 265 hectares of land in Nilphamari districts in the region,” Moniruzzaman added.
Farmer Dilip Kumar village of Dakshin Hajipur in Taraganj upazila of Rangpur said he has cultivated sunflower on one bigha of land in a block of two acres of land for the first time after being inspired by the DAE officials.
“I got 1.50 kg of sunflower seeds and 10 kg of DAP and 10 kg of MOP fertilisers, like other farmers in our block, as special incentives for cultivation of sunflower on one bigha of land,” said.
Like Dilip, farmers Majibar Rahman, Feroz Ahmed and Ali Ahmad of the village have cultivated sunflower for the first time on one bigha of land each after getting 1.50 kg of seeds, 10 kg of DAP and 10 kg of MOP fertilisers each in the block.
Farmer Rawshan Ali and his son Rafikul Islam of the same village have cultivated sunflower on one bigha of land each for the first time after getting 1.50 kg of seeds under the post-flood agriculture rehabilitation program.
Taraganj Upazila Agriculture Officer Agriculturist Urmi Tabassum said sunflower plants now in bloom are growing superbly amid excellent climatic conditions creating a real hope for farmers in getting bumper production of the oil seeds in the upazila.
Additional Deputy Director (Leave Reserved) of the DAE at Khamarbari in Dhaka Agriculturist Md. Abu Sayem told BSS that there is a brighter prospect of expanding sunflower farming in a changing climate to attain self-reliance on edible oil.
“Sunflower is widely cultivated in different countries of the world. Sunflower seeds contain 48 to 52 percent oil stay. Its oil contains 40-45 percent Linoleic acid and is very good for heart patients and does not contain harmful Erucic acid,” he said.