NAOGAON: Farming of sunflower is gaining popularity in the district due to a sudden rise in its demand.
Sources at the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said more than 333 hectares of land have been brought under sunflower cultivation in all eleven upazilas of the district in the current season.
Many fallow land have also come under sunflower cultivation in some areas as quality of soil rarely affect its production, the sources added.
Kamrul Hasan under Raninagar upazila said, "Few years ago, we used to cultivate sunflower in a small portion of our land only on experimental basis."
"As the demand for sunflower oil is rising in the markets, finally we dare cultivate this high value crop considering its widespread future potentiality," Hasan added.
Deputy Director of Naogaon DAE Shamsul Wadud said peasants of the district started cultivating sunflower on a large scale after it proved profitable for them.
"Many companies of the country are now showing interest in salubrious edible oil production, giving the farmers a chance to change their fate through sunflower cultivation," he added.
Our Faridpur Correspondent adds: Seen from a distance, it looks like a huge yellow carpet has been spread. Thousands of sunflowers fall in sight when approached.
The flowers sway in the wind as if inviting you to enjoy the beauty. That is why thousands of people are crowding in the sunflower garden all day long. Some are taking pictures, some are coming to the garden with their families to enjoy the beauty as well as for picnicking.
This captivating sight of sunflowers can be seen at the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) farm on the Dhaka-Khulna highway in the Gangavardi area of Faridpur.
Several thousand sunflower seeds have been planted in a large area of this farm.
At present every tree is in bloom from seed. Nature lovers from far and wide are flocking here to see it. From noon onwards, the sunflower garden becomes a gathering place for people of all ages. This garden of sunflowers has now become the only place of interest for beauty lovers.
Authorities are currently struggling to maintain the garden, which is crowded with thousands of people. Although there is some damage to the garden, the BADC authorities are not saying anything to the visitors considering the beauty lovers interest. However, many people are dissatisfied because of the flowers.
According to BADC authorities, they started cultivating sunflower experimentally in the last few years. Sunflower gardens have been planted over a large area for the last four years. This is their initiative to popularize sunflower oil. Interested farmers came from different parts of the country. Many people have now started planting sunflower with advice and seeds. Day by day, farmers in different upazilas of Faridpur district have started planting sunflower on their own initiative.
Faridpur Deputy Director of Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) Md. Asaduzzaman Swapan said sunflower seeds are a profitable crop.
Moreover, sunflower oil has various health benefits. Demand for sunflower oil has increased. As a result, work is being done with the aim of popularizing sunflower cultivation. Farmers are being given various advices including training and seeds.
He said sunflowers have been planted on 4 acres of land in BADC's garden in Faridpur.
From which seeds will be produced. These seeds will be spread across the country through BADC.
The Deputy Director of Faridpur BADC further said that at least 100 farmers in Faridpur zone have cultivated sunflower with the seeds produced from the farm.
One bigha of land costs Tk 10 to 12 thousand to cultivate sunflower. The income from the produced seeds is Tk 40 to 45 thousand. Sunflower trees can also be used as fuel.