Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

No-till sunflower oil production

FAO Uzbekistan (
United Nations / Multilateral body

    Two types of sunflower are grown in Uzbekistan first type is for oil production while second type for human food as well as forage. Sunflower is a major source of vegetable oil in the world. In the irrigated conditions the crop can be grown for oil production. The sunflower is suitable for cultivation in rainfed areas as forage crop in Uzbekistan but not for oil crop. Many rainfed areas are abandoned and not using for crop production. Conservation agriculture (CA) practices are widely adopted in rainfed conditions all over the world. CA or resource effective agriculture is practices of farming, which helps in conserving the land and environment while achieving desirably sustainable yield levels. It is based on the integrated management of soil, water and agricultural resources to achieve the objective of economically viable, ecologically sound and socially acceptable agricultural production. Rainfed crop production in Qamashi is marginal, because of low and unstable rainfall during crop growing season and low soil fertility and is also suitable to grow sunflower under no-till technology. In the demonstration site in Qamashi district for the first-time no-till sunflower crop was grown for oil purpose.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    FAO is implementing the project entitled “Integrated natural resources management in drought-prone and salt-affected agricultural production landscapes in Central Asia and Turkey ('CACILM2')”. The overall objective of the Project is to scale up integrated natural resources management (INRM) in drought prone and salt affected agricultural production landscapes in the Central Asian countries and Turkey. This will be done through scaling up of sustainable management practices that minimize pressures and negative impacts on natural resources that reduce risks and vulnerability and, enhance capacity of rural communities to cope with or adapt to drought. Under the project, three demonstration sites on drought and heat management issues established in the region. Conducted comprehensive assessment through national consultations on the potential of institutional capacities and identified gaps and needs of three partner organizations for information support, extension and consulting services for wider scaling out of SLM. Partnership established with private, civil, and public sector organizations in Uzbekistan to support smallholder farmers to scale up no-till sunflower production. Conducted field activities for wider adoption no-till sunflower in rainfed conditions of Kashkadarya province. The project will also enhance the exchange of experiences and knowledge-sharing between farmers, within the scientific circles and with policymakers. Partners from the national agricultural research and extension systems and policymakers are expected to participate in and benefit from project outcomes. The Southern Research Institute of Crop Husbandry will get access to new and innovative information, while policymakers will learn more about the benefits of the no-till sunflower production at both district and national levels.


    Grain yield of sunflower under traditional tillage and no till with and without hydrogel application were differ. Sunflower yields ranged under rainfed conditions from 0.60 to 1.1 t ha –1, averaged over treatments, with a mean around 0.87 t ha–1. The highest yields were received with no-till treatment without hydrogel (1.1 t ha -1) while lowest yield was recorded with no-till treatment with hydrogel. Sunflower yield decreased consistently from without hydrogel treatment to with hydrogel application. The results show that no-till sunflower has a big adoption potential not only under rainfed conditions of Kashkadarya region but whole Uzbekistan.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    • Use of quality seeds of improved varieties is an important input for high productivity. • Presently, nearly 70-80 per cent of the crop area is covered by hybrids. • Most of the hybrid seeds is imported from and there is no locally established sunflower hybrids in the country. • Many unscrupulous producers sell seeds of poor quality to unsuspecting farmers leading to poor crop and yields. • Likewise, with varieties, farmers tend to continuously use their own seeds leading to deterioration in the quality of seed. • Although adequate quantity of breeder seed is produced, due to poor seed multiplication chain, the amount of certified seeds produced is not adequate. • The very advantages/merits associated with sunflower have in fact worked against the crop leading to poor productivity levels. • The crop has been taken to marginal and sub-marginal lands of all types where it is possible to provide favourable environment for high productivity. • Likewise, because of photo-insensitivity of the crop, we find the planting of crop by farmers at all times of the year in some areas which again is not ideal. • Despite photo-insensitivity of crop, there are certain limits within which the crop needs to be planted for high yields. • Crop management practices are major production constraints specially under rainfed conditions. • It is always a common sight to find crowded plants stands of sunflower on farmer's fields. • Due to poor quality seeds or insufficient moisture, gaps are observed which lead to sub-optimum yield levels. • If the germination is normal, with recommended seed rate one can expect at least 50 per cent more plants than the recommended plant stand. • These excess plants need to be thinned in time which is normally not done by many farmers leading to low yields. • Likewise, many times proper spacing, timely weed control are not followed which again reduce the yield levels.

    Sustainability and replicability

    The current scenario of Uzbekistan increase in food demand calls for substitution of animal protein for plant protein for human consumption to enhance the sustainability of food and agricultural production. Although sunflower is a non-established crop in rainfed conditions of Uzbekistan, the suitability of sunflower for cultivation in rainfed conditions using no-till technology was successful to increase oil production in the country. It is hoped that the outcomes of no-till sunflower will be extended beyond the target areas in the district and benefit rural populations as a whole. Within the project, six tons of chickpea seeds were distributed to 10 interested private farmers in Qamashi district. In spring of 2020, no-till sunflower was planted on 100 ha of rainfed land in the district. By 2021 the area under no-till sunflower is expected to increase to more than 5000 ha.

    COVID-19 Impact

    Participating farmers, adjacent project site, were convinced with the technology after seeing no-till sunflower crop growth and development. Many of them showed great willingness to grow no-till sunflower under rainfed conditions. It is expected that recommendations will be developed and communicated to stakeholders on the basis of collected data.

    No progress reports have been submitted. Please sign in and click here to submit one.
    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 January 2020 (start date)
    31 December 2020 (date of completion)
    FAO Uzbekistan
    Other beneficiaries

    Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Water Management are the key partners in implementing the CACILM2 project. Center of Hydro-meteorological services under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzhydromet) is the government body, specifically authorized to solve issues in the field of hydrometeorology and climate, including hydro-meteorological provision of economic sectors and the country’s population. State committee on forestry of the Republic of Uzbekistan is also partner in this project and by the decision of the government, State committee on forestry is entitled to provide the fulfilments of obligations under UNCCD, as well as for coordination within the CACILM programme in Uzbekistan. The State Committee on Land Resources, Geodesics, Cartography and the State Cadaster that is the major authority responsible for implementation of integrated government policy and control of land use and protection; The State Committee on Ecology and Environmental Protection is responsible for environmental monitoring. Strong partnerships built with other Southern Research Institute of Crop Husbandry on establishing demonstration sites on no-till sunflower cultivation under rainfed conditions, as well as on CA practices, seed production and sustainable rural livelihoods. These practices provided the basis for adoption of no-till sunflower production in rainfed conditions.

    More information
    Contact Information

    Aziz, National Consultant on Drought Risk Management