KARACHI, March 30: The sunflower production in Sindh will drop by 5.2 per cent because the sowing has decreased by 4.07 per cent against the target.
According to statistics of the Sindh Agriculture department the sunflower sowing was 10,956 hectares below the target until March 20. A total of around 258,274 hectares could be brought under cultivation against the target of 269,230 hectares.
The sunflower production has been projected to be down by 18,123 million tons to 331,877 million as against target of 350,000 million tons for the year 2010.
The sunflower sowing in the province begins in October and concludes on Feb 15, in lower Sindh. The sowing continued till first week of March in Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Matiari, Mirpurkhas and Sanghar districts.
The picking will begin from April 1. Badin and Thatta districts are major sunflower growing areas, which together account for more than 55 per cent of the output.
The farmers pointed out that late maturity of paddy in lower and central Sindh districts is the main cause of 5.18 per cent shortfall in sunflower sowing, which is cultivated on residual moister of paddy crop and thus paddy harvesting is critical for its timely sowing.
Sowing in these areas started in December instead of October 2010, because, paddy fields were not cleared due to harvesting, which continued till late November, Amin Memon, chairman Small Farmers Association said.
Meanwhile, Additional Secretary Agriculture Ashfaq Soomro said that although sunflower sowing and production targets for the year 2010 could not be achieved, the crop posted increase of 16.89 per cent in area under cultivation and 28.04 per cent in output as compared to last year.