North Karnataka farmers switch to sunflower

North Karnataka farmers switch to sunflower

The war between Ukraine and Russia has prompted a shift in the cropping pattern in Kalyana Karnataka

Those who used to grow maize, bengal gram, cotton among others are shifting to sunflower. Credit: Reuters photo

The war between Ukraine and Russia has prompted a shift in the cropping pattern in Kalyana Karnataka. There is a substantial increase in the area under sunflower cultivation in Raichur, Koppal and Yadgir districts in kharif. Those who used to grow maize, bengal gram, cotton among others are shifting to sunflower.

According to the agriculture department data, in Raichur district alone, sunflower seeds are sown in 17,000 hectares. Last year, the crop was grown in 3,500 hectares. In Yadgir, the area under sunflower cultivation has increased from 30 to 150 hectares.

Ukraine and Russia together meet 90% of India’s sunflower oil needs. India imported about 13.2 million tonnes of edible oil last year. Of this, sunflower oil constituted about 2-2.2 million tonnes.

Devika R, joint director, Agriculture Department, Raichur, says that this trend is due to an increased demand and lucrative price for sunflower in the market. “They will opt for groundnut, another oil crop, in the next season (rabi),” she says.

Yadgir agriculture department joint director Abid S S says that the department resumed sunflower seed distribution this year after a gap of three years. “The state government has directed us to encourage farmers to grow sunflower,” he says.

Soybean is another crop that is growing in popularity in Kalyana Karnataka. Kalaburagi Agriculture joint director Rathendranath Sugur says the area under soybean cultivation is likely to increase from 12,000 hectares last year to 30,000 hectares this year.

The reason for increase in the cultivation area is the good price in market and unlike tur dal, the main crop of the region, soybean can withstand excess and sustain scanty rainfall. As a result, they are switching from tur to soybean, says Sugur.

Bidar agriculture joint director Taramani G H said the area under soybean cultivation is set to increase from 1.82 lakh hectares last year to 2.6 lakh hectares this year in the district. “However, soybean is sensitive during germination,” she cautions. Here, the department is promoting farmers to grow sunflower during the rabi season.

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