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Special Report:
Flood Crisis

1
 

 
Sunflower farming in flood-hit areas

Flood Crisis Home

THE farmers in seven flood-hit districts of Sindh are estimated to earn about Rs3.149 billion from sunflower, according to sources in institutions that supported cultivation of this mid-season crop.

Sunflower was cultivated in Jacobabad, Qambar Shahdadkot, Shikarpur, Kashmore-Kandhkot, Larkana and Dadu in upper Sindh and Thatta in lower Sindh on 95,444 acres with a reckoned average per acre yield of 15 maunds and province-wide harvest of 1,431,660 maunds.

According to market reports, the farmers are selling their produce at Rs2,200 per 40 kg, that is more than the official support price of Rs2,000, due to high international prices and high domestic demand.

 


Each beneficiary, who was otherwise affected by the floods and rendered homeless and shelterless, may get Rs60,000 to Rs70,000 from sale proceeds of sunflower.

This US-assisted initiative called Sindh Agriculture Recovery Project (SARP), was launched in December 2010, to help the IDPs/ flood affected people to grow sunflower.

The sunflower can bridge the seasonal gap between harvesting and plantation of paddy next season. Earlier, wheat or some other crops was grown. Sunflower has the potential for playing a major role in substituting import of edible oil.

It was first time that a third (mid season) crop sunflower was cultivated in Sindh moist-laden soil hit by floods. Hence the yield per acre was not satisfactory and estimated targets were not met.

In upper Sindh only two crops paddy and wheat were cultivated and the overall wheat output used to be low, forcing growers of these districts to explore other options to improve their financial conditions. They can now bank on additional incomes from sunflower.

Initially, growers faced problems in marketing of sunflower but with coordinated efforts of SARP and representative farmers organizations, these problems are being overcome.

Assisted by USAID, SARP was launched in partnership with the Rural Support Programmes Network, Sindh Rural Support Organisation and Sindh Abadgar Board (SAB). The total value of this project was $15 million that covered 84 union councils.

Agricultural inputs were provided to flood-affected small farmers. The target beneficiaries stated to be 50,575 small farmers having land holdings up to 20 acres.

The package of support included: certified sunflower seed, fertilisers (DAP and urea), trainings on sunflowers cultivation and cash packages for land preparation, cash for on-farm (water courses repair) and threshing.

After the refusal of solvent plant owners to establish their procurement centres at district headquarters, the grain merchants, retailers and traders agreed to purchase sunflower, if brought by the farmers to the grain markets of the respective districts. This mechanism worked and the farmers formed clusters at each UC level. As for threshing, some growers have purchased the sunflower threshers, particularly in Shikarpur while some solvent plants provided threshers to the beneficiaries of various districts.


Courtesy: DAWN

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