Govt to launch separate mini-mission to increase sunflower cultivation area: Tomar
Taking the industry’s advice into consideration, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has directed officials to prepare a detailed target-oriented action plan on increasing the sunflower area under cultivation as soon as possible. This will aid in the launch of some pilot projects in the upcoming Kharif season, as sowing is set to begin in 2 months.
Holds talks with the states
Tomar, who chaired a meeting on Thursday to promote the expansion of the sunflower area and its production in the country, said that, similar to how pulses, oilseeds, and the National Oil Palm Mission have been promoted in the country, the same way the sunflower will be promoted in a much-planned manner.
He had in-depth consultations with state officials from Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu, all of whom expressed interest in implementing any such Central scheme once it was announced.
During the meeting, representatives from the oilseeds sector requested a separate mini-mission from the government. It will make sure seed availability, help protect against pest attacks to increase yield, as well as provide marketing support, in addition to providing crop insurance.
Despite the fact that the average sunflower yield increased to 931 kg/hectare in 2019-20 from 603 kg/hectare in 2015-16, production has decreased in recent years due to shrinking acreage. Sunflower production was around 15 lakh tonnes (lt) and the area was around 20 lakh hectares till 2007-08. Following that year, the cultivation area under the crop began to shrink. It is now estimated to be 2.66 lt in 2021-22, based on a 2.7 lakh hectare area.
Sub-committee to work out the roadmap
Tomar also announced that a sub-committee under the Agriculture Commissioner would work out the roadmap, which would include all of the major State governments as well as other stakeholders such as edible oil manufacturers and seed industry associations. He urged the States to increase sunflower production and promised them all forms of support.
The sunflower crop is now limited to Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh, while Punjab and Haryana are also trying to encourage paddy farmers to adopt it, according to Joint Secretary Shubha Thakur. According to Thakur, there is potential to expand sunflower cultivation in other states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh.
Officials from Uttar Pradesh said the mustard success model should be replicated for sunflower, while Karnataka has pledged to continue its area expansion program in marginal lands, particularly during the Rabi season when irrigation is guaranteed, according to an official statement.
Andhra Pradesh has agreed to encourage sunflower cultivation in paddy fields, particularly where borewells are present. While Punjab is ready to expand its area, Haryana already has a plan in place to expand its potato fallow area, which is approximately 12,000 hectares.