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Sunflower Hybrids in Pakistan

Development and Promotion of Sunflower Hybrids in Pakistan

Blooming PARSUN-3 at NARC


PARSUN-3  at maturity


Mumtaz Khan Manais, Progressive Farmer (TibaSultanpur, Vehari)

PARC made tremendous efforts for the development of improved production technology and a number of sunflower hybrids. As a member of evaluation team for the of local hybrids in cotton area, I see that the efforts of the scientists of PARC  have proved fruitful. Development of PARSUN-3 hybrid is a great breakthrough. The hybrid has higher yield potential, earlier in maturity and responds better to higher inputs due to short stature. The hybrid performed equally well as Hysun-33. 

Contributors: Dr. AbdurRehman, Dr. Mumtaz Ahmad, Dr. Muhammad Amjad Rana, Dr. BakhatRoidar, Dr. Akbar Shah Mohmand, Dr. M. Ayub Khan (PARSUN-3 Breeding/ Development), Oildseed Program NARC,  Islamabad


·  Since independence to early 1960s, edible oil requirements were mostly met from animal sources.

·   With increase in population, the additional requirements were met through import of vegetable oil. 

·Varieties of non-conventional oilseed crops (sunflower, safflower and soybean were introduced during seventies.

·  In early 1980s, Ghee Corporation of Pakistan played an effective role in promoting non-traditional oil crops in general and sunflower in particular.

·   Domestic seed requirements to raise most of the oilseed crops were met through imported hybrids/varieties costing huge foreign exchange.

·    Most of the imported varieties/hybrids did not adopt well locally.

·   Challenge was to develop and promote high yielding sunflower hybrids for increasing the production of edible oil in the country.


·   In 1985-86, PARC initiated the National Uniform Yield Trials (NUYTs) and also breeding program on sunflower with few lines of U.S and Russian origin.

·    A total of 516 open pollinated varieties/hybrids were evaluated, out which 46 hybrids were selected for cultivation in the country.

·   Production technology (optimum planting time, plant population/ha, use of fertilizer and harvesting time) was optimized.

·   Consequently, shift in planting time was recommended from late planting (in March) to earlier (Jan-Feb.) to accommodate sunflower planting time in rice and cotton farming systems of Punjab.

·  PARC undertook research on  planting method and optimum plant     population and recommended replacement of broad casting with row planting method (with pneumatic planters). It resulted in reduction (33%) in standard seed rate from 7.5 to 5 kg per ha and increase (100%) in yield from 749 kg/ha to 1520 kg/ha as well.

·  In 1989-1997, National Oilseeds Development Project (NODP) was     launched to strengthen these activities.

·   In 2007-2011, “Research for Agriculture Development Project (RADP) was launched.


·    In 1992, the First Ever Sunflower Hybrid (PARC-92E) was released having   traits like early maturity and suitability for rice & cotton areas.

·   From 1993 to 1996, its seed was multiplied on Gidder Farm (Balochistan) and planted on 5000 acres.

·    In 2003, another high yielding hybrid, PARSUN-2 was released and planted on >5000 acres in Bahawalpur Division.

·    During 2003-2005, it was also promoted in Sindh the collaboration of         Engro-chemicals (Pvt.) Ltd on pilot scale.

·  During 2007-2011, a number of potential parent lines were developed, resulting in release of an early maturing and high yielding sunflower hybrid, PARSUN-3 (SMH-0907) for major sunflower growing areas of Sindh and Punjab.

·   In 2013, one ton seed of PARSUN-3 was produced and sold for spring planting by PATCO on half the market price.

Way Forward

·    Development of more uniform and competitive parent lines is underway.

·  Testing of more hybrid combinations is being pursued for identification of more high yielding and stress tolerant hybrids.


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