Hyderabad: Farmers in Lower Sindh, particularly in Umerkot, Tharparkar, Sujawal, Thatta and Badin districts, have changed their priorities this year by cultivating sunflower rapeseed and mustard, and see it as a better way to earn a living.
Sharing their experiences, small-scale farmers said they were more inclined to cultivate excessive mustard because of the decline in average sunflower production.
For example, they used to get 20 to 30 manats (40 kg) of sunflower per acre, but now their production is only 15 acres or less. In some areas, farmers could not get more than two or three mounds per acre.
That is why they have changed their mindset to cultivate mustard, which does not require excessive water or chemical input. Some farmers produce lower yields on substandard seeds sold locally with lower germination rates.
The price of sunflower in the local market ranges from Rs. 2,200 to Rs. 2,800 / -. Rape – Regarding mustard, farmers believe that since they do not need to invest in anything other than seeds, they can earn more from this crop. Mustard seeds cost 4000-5000 / mund.
Gulab Shah, a farmer from the coastal area of Kati Bandar in Thatta District, said that in the past, farmers in many areas used to cultivate sunflower, which has long had a good market. However, due to poor seed production soon began to decline.
“This year the scene has changed drastically as farmers have grown mustard in a wide area instead of sunflower,” said Shah. Sadiq Khashili, a small farmer in the Klui area of Tharparkar district, said the flood affected People in the area benefited from the smell of mustard and asabgul (celium straw) after the water shortage in their area.
He said that now his hopes are high for mustard and asab flower crops. “These crops do not require much water, fertilizer or pesticides at any stage from sowing to harvesting.” He said many farmers did not even wait for the land to be plowed and as soon as the flood waters receded, they quickly planted mustard in the muddy fields.
At present, it (mustard) is a major crop in the flood-affected area near Konri and in some parts of other districts, he said. Kunri itself is a major market for rapeseed-mustard seeds.
There is a mustard oil mill here, which supplies excellent quality oil over a wide area. Reports from farmers in the coastal districts of Thatta, Sujawal and Badin indicate that the lands that were once under sunflowers are now covered with mustard fields.
Noor Mohammad Thahamur, a community worker in Jati, Sujawal district, said farmers could not tell the best about sunflower seeds, which is why production was declining.
“There are three types of sunflower seeds on the market, but due to the inattention of government officials, some seed dealers provide adulterated seeds, which has disappointed farmers,” Thahammore said.
Allah Wadhio Gandahi, a researcher who teaches soil science at Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam, said that earlier, Golrachi area of Badin district used to cultivate sunflower on 300,000 acres of land, which may be half this year Was more than
Gandahi said sunflowers are grown in a rice-growing area in Sindh Province, where farmers cultivate rice after harvest.
He said it simplified the cost of input without much production, so frustrated farmers opted for alternatives such as mustard and vegetable crops to use their land. “Some farmers have also replaced sunflowers with tomatoes and other vegetables that were not grown there before.”
Repsid – Mustard is the second most important source of oil in Pakistan after cotton. Farmers have been cultivating this traditional basil crop in the subcontinent for centuries.
It is cultivated in Pakistan on an area of 307,000 hectares with an annual production of 233,000 tons, and contributes about 17% to the country’s edible oil production.
Nawabshah district is considered a mustard production center where farmers have continued to cultivate mustard to keep alive the tradition of their ancestors. Akram Khasili, of the Green Welfare Association in Nawabshah, said his family had been cultivating mustard on a small piece of land for a long time. “Some farmers cultivate this crop to restore saline soils,” he said.
Khashili said the villagers also like to use rapeseed-mustard leaves (mustard greens) while considering nutritious foods. “That’s why before harvesting, farmers sell these green leaves as vegetables in local markets,” he said.