Ludhiana, May 16 (UNI) Though the country ranks 5th in the world in sunflower production, there is a need to develop spring season short duration hybrid varieties to fit sunflower in the existing cropping pattern involving wheat, paddy, potato, cotton, pearl millet and maize.
These views were expressed by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Vice Chancellor Manjit Singh Kang while addressing the delegates at the Annual Group Meeting of All India Co-ordinated Research Project on Sunflower and Castor here today.
The meeting is jointly organised by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and PAU.
Dr Kang felt that the spring varieties will give an impetus to sunflower cultivation, specially in northern India. At the same time potential of the existing technologies needs to be improved to increase the sunflower yield, he added.
The VC observed that because of the nutritional and economic factors, oilseed crops are set to regain their important role in nutritional food security. Special attention is needed to improve the production and protection technologies of these crops'', he stated.
Highlighting the importance of oilseeds, Dr Kang said that India had emerged as the largest importer of edible oil in the world.
''Almost 50 per cent of domestic demand is met through imports which is of great concern when international prices are increasing'', he added.
Dr Kang said sunflower and castor are important oilseeds that provide quality edible oil and industrial oil respectively.
Presiding over the group meeting, Dr V P Patil, Assistant Director General (Oilseeds and pulses), ICAR said that although oilseed production in the country has doubled ever since the pre-green revolution era, the production level are far lower than the potential.
''There is a big gap in productivity of oilseed crop at research fields and farmers' field and there is need to identify the areas where we are lacking'', he remarked.
Dr Patil informed that in the 11th 5-year plan special efforts will be made to bring more area under oilseed and pulses. For this purpose, Rs 210 crore to promote pulse cultivation and Rs 137 crore to promote oilseeds cultivation has been demanded from the Union Government, he said.
UNI HS AK HT1618