Bengaluru, June 27, 2022: The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) & Karnataka Cooperative Oilseeds Growers’ Federation Ltd (KOF) inked an MoU with University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore (UAS-Bangalore) and Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research, Hyderabad for large scale sunflower hybrid seed production in Karnataka. This agreement is aimed at paving the way for licensing sunflower hybrid KBSH-41 for commercialisation.

Sushri Shobha Karandlaje, Hon’ble Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India graced the occasion as Chief Guest. Shri BC Patil, Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture, Govt of Karnataka was the Guest of Honour. Shri Annasaheb Shankar Jolle, MP (Lok Sabha) & Chairman, KOF, Shri Meenesh Shah, Chairman, NDDB and Dr S Rajendra Prasad, Vice-Chancellor, UAS-Bangalore were also present.

In her address, Sushri Karandlaje said that this momentous occasion is a right step towards Atmanirbharta in edible oil. She sought NDDB’s intervention in reducing country’s reliance on imported edible oil and applauded Board’s intent to help the oilseed sector. The Hon’ble Union Minister said that availability of credible sources of hybrid seeds has become a big lacuna. She appreciated the joint efforts of NDDB and KOF to take up commercial production of successful sunflower hybrid seeds so that farmers get superior seeds.

Shri Patil said that that increase in MSP by the Government of India has enthused farmers towards sunflower production in Karnataka. The compulsion to rapidly increase domestic edible oil production is an opportunity to improve livelihoods of small and marginal farmers.

Chairman, NDDB said that in the 80s, NDDB was involved in setting up edible oil cooperatives under Operation Golden Flow. The Dairy Board is re-engaging itself. This is a small but critical first step towards supporting the Government’s initiative in attaining self-sufficiency, Atmanirbharta in edible oils. NDDB and KOF will encourage farmers to take up sunflower as a preferred crop by making available high-quality seeds at reasonable prices. NDDB will work with KOF for production of 5000 quintals of hybrid sunflower seeds in Rabi 2022 – enough for sowing in about one lakh hectare. This will be further scaled up in Karnataka and also replicated in other states.

Shri Jolle conveyed that NDDB has already initiated a number of measures to support KOF. He further said that considering the Ukraine crisis, there is a huge shortage of sunflower oil. This has led to higher prices of sunflower seeds. Our farmers can restart sunflower seed production to earn profits.

Dr Prasad said that NDDB and KOF have approached UAS-B for commercial production of successful sunflower hybrid seeds. Thus, the agreement will re-initiate large scale Sunflower hybrid seed production.