The apathy of banks and other factors have dismayed sun flower growers here. Despite repeated meetings under chairmanship of the collector financial assistance for priority sector and sunflowers has not been forthcoming.

According to agriculture department sources, sun flower is grown over 400 acres in different blocks. Hundred acres grown under National scheme while the remaining areas grown by farmers with all his expenses.

Farmers start their groundwork for sunflowers after harvest of paddy in December and reap the sunflower in March. They cultivate land, grow and give protection and irrigate the crop land and guard lands round the clock.

Though animals never damage the crop but parrot damage the flowers before harvest to some extent, said a farmer Arun Samal of Bandhnua village, 20 kms away from district headquarters.

In Neul poi village near Joranda, farmers have grown sunflower on both sides of road lead to Dhenkanal- Joranda route. The villagers said they had not received any assistance from banks and their loan applications were either rejected or pending since long.

We have grown the cash crop without banks finance. We have done it as it is a lucrative crop. They informed, “One acre growth provides more than 400 litres oil and maybe more. We use organic manure more to have better harvest.

We have crushing machines in the village and so we want to grow in 200 to 300 hectres of land but lack of finance forces us to scale down operations.” “The agriculture department provided seeds free of cost,” they added.

Deputy Director of Agriculture (DDA) Chhabindra Behera said banks are reluctant to sanction loan and farmers had complained him about it.

Agriculture Department will release Rs 4,000 per acre to sunflower growers towards pesticides, fertilisers etc. under National Mission for Oil Seeds and Oil Palm project. NABARD AGM R K Tripathy said that the farmers need financial assistance to grow more.