Chitwan farmers find their calling in sunflower farming
Farmers of Chitwan district have been attracted to sunflower farming. A group of four farmers have collectively grown sunflowers on around three bighas of land at Sripur of Bharatpur Metropolitan City-15, said Chandra Prasad Adhikari, one of the owners of the farming.
The Agriculture Knowledge Centre (AKC), Chitwan has provided assistances by providing seeds, fertilizers and irrigation facility, he said. They have also grown mustards in around two bighas of land. Adhikari started the farming 10 years ago with a break for some years in between. Again, we together started organic sunflower farming, he said. “I started with carrot farming in 2032 BS.
I quit agriculture some years in between. Carrot production is higher. But, it lacks the market value,” he said. It does not require much investment to do sunflower farming. So, the farmers here have been attracted to it, he said. Farmers can supply healthier sunflower oil to consumers at a fair value, and it helps discourage inedible cooking oil from the market, he said. The farming has also attracted tourists and TikTokers alike. “With sunflower blooming, tourists and TikTokers have visited here. We charge them Rs 100 each for an entry fee.
We feel good by having them here,” he said. Around 65 beehives have been also kept in the sunflower field for honey production, he said. The AKC’s agriculture officer Suruchi Tripathi said the Centre provided assistances in growing oil seeds on 100 hectares of land in Chitwan and Makawanpur districts. “The farmers here are interested in the farming. So, the Centre has encouraged them,” she said.