TARI-Ilonga launches fresh bid to revamp sunflower production

The sunflower sub-sector in Tanzania is inching towards impressive development following concerted efforts by agricultural pundits, seed breeder institutes and the parent ministry to conduct helpful researches intervention with an eye to invent and introduce hybrid seed varieties among end users farmers. 

Sunflower is found to grow well in almost all regions from across the country, except only Dar es Salaam, but despite such key economic opportunity, the country however had continued failing to benefit from the sector accordingly due to, among others, limited uses of improved varieties as well as associated technologies. 

Agricultural experts insisted that potential for expansion of sunflower production is Tanzania is promised as there was vast suitable land for the purpose. 

Other factors for supporting increased production of sunflower in the future are the yield potential and superior agronomic characteristics of sunflower; the need for alternative crops in some areas of the country; excessive crushing capacity; increased demand for edible oils; and health benefits of sunflower oil. 

For instance, in 2016, The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) indicated that sunflower was the most likely sub- sector to yield investable opportunities in Tanzania if well promoted. 

According to the statistics, the county is annually projected to spend at least Sh675 billion to import between 400,000 and 570,000 tons of crude oil to curtail the shortage of edible oil, primarily due to lacklustre production of sunflower within the country.