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Sunflower farming gets popular in Noakhali

  • Our Correspondent
  • 29 January, 2022 12:00 AM
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NOAKHALI: Farmers of Noakhali char areas are becoming increasingly interested in sunflower farming, as the land is suitable for the oil seed farming.

Due to a sudden rise in its demand, farming of sunflower is gaining popularity in the district.

Farmers of this region, with the help of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institution (BARI), are seeing success in sunflower farming.

In addition, it is a major source of vegetable oil that is considered healthier than the massively used soybean oil. Owing to its high demand, farmers find sunflower cultivation profitable.

Winter is suitable for this crop. It can be harvested within 85-105 days and each maund fetches Tk 2,300 to 28,00, say BARI sources.

Nowadays, many factory owners are showing interest in commercial farming of the crop. Kamal Hossain of Subarnachar upazila said he had been cultivating sunflower for the last two years with BARI’s support. This year, he has cultivated two hectares and expects good yield.

Masud Karim, a farmer of Hatiya upazila, said he has cultivated sunflower on six hectares of land this year, investing a small amount. But he hopes to earn a good profit, as crop is healthy. It will be ready for harvest at the end of March.

The Agriculture Department of Noakhali Science and Technology University (NSTU) has cultivated sunflower on their 5 hectares of fallow land. Last year, they fetched a good profit from sunflower farming.

Mohammad Mahmudul Alam, Deputy Director (Seed) of Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) in Noakhali, said, “We are extending our support to growers to make sunflower farming profitable and sustainable. Around 80 hectares of land were brought under sunflower farming in the district this year.” Shakhawat Hossain, a businessman from this area, has by now brought nearly 160 acres of land under the cultivation in Senbagh upazila.

Many years ago, an initiative was taken to expand sunflower cultivation in the country. However, that didn’t bring any success as people didn’t greet the oil as ‘edible’ when they first heard of it. As the time went by, people became much aware about the quality of sunflower oil.

Shakhawat Hossain’s objective is to motivate more farmers to cultivate sunflower and make it a cash crop by popularising consumption of sunflower oil in Bangladesh. Under his initiative, farmers are working on some test plots to cultivate sunflowers and produce its valuable seeds on a large scale.  

There was a time when sunflower was cultivated voluntarily in our country. Later on, a few people started cultivating it commercially. No one ever thought that sunflower would be a successful venture in the coastal areas of Bangladesh.

A field of sunflower means a great sight of natural beauty. It changes the scenario of an entire area. It also has a great impact over the minds of farmers because of its magnificent attraction. Even bees come here to the flowers and honey collection can provide extra income for the farmers.

The entrepreneur of the commercial sunflower farming wants the people of Bangladesh to consume good quality of healthy oil. Some solvent and health conscious people are buying sunflower oil spending a little extra money.

BADC has adopted a project to inspire local farmers to cultivate sunflower considering the importance of char areas. BADC has already established sunflower seed, pulse along with soybean and oil seed extension farm in Subarnachar so that farmers can sell sunflowers in proper time and collect good quality seeds.

Sunflower bears good prospect for the locals of Noakhali’s Subarnachar, farming is moving ahead with extremely planned and commercial value. The farmers have to supervise everything from production, processing and marketing. Meanwhile, there is a matter of surviving in adverse climate. Considering these matters, in the coastal areas of Noakhali, the good news that has risen through the initiative of sunflower cultivation and processing.