THE consumption of cooking oil plays a key role in the consumption types of humans on a daily routine. It is because cooking oil is important in the daily cooking process of Myanmar people. Myanmar mostly uses groundnut and sesame oil in making meals.
Farmers cultivate oil crops such as groundnut, sesame, sunflower, canola, niger and so on to produce cooking oils for domestic consumption. In addition, businesspersons import palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia.
Myanmar places three million acres of croplands under groundnut plants, 3.5 million acres under sesame and one million acres under sunflowers. If farmers systematically grow these oil crops, they can produce 1.369 million tonnes of edible oil per year. Such an amount will contribute to 200 per cent of the oil sufficiency of the nation.
Among them, sunflower is primarily grown in Sagaing, Mandalay, Magway and Ayeyawady regions as well as Shan State. In this regard, extended cultivation of sunflowers needs to take care of pasts in the farms to have to boost per-acre yield. Farmers should observe the nature of pests along the term of sunflower plantations. It is because such kind of pests can cause damage to sunflower plantations, accounting for 25-45 per cent.
If pesticides and chemicals are extremely used in combating pests at sunflower plantations, these pests will have resistance against the pesticides and chemicals, causing water and air pollution, high costs and content of chemical residues in the crops. Hence, farmers should use chemicals to combat pests if it is an unavoidable situation.
Farmers can seek technical assistance from staff from the relevant Department of Agriculture for managing their oil crop farms. By the suggestions of the agriculturists, they have to nurture oil crops and prevent pests without fail. Moreover, the farmers themselves need to observe the nature of various pests which can destroy oil crops year after year.
As sunflower plants can be harvested in a shorter time than groundnut and sesame, an emphasis must be placed on the cultivation of such an oil crop in order to produce cooking oil for meeting the demand of the domestic market. Moreover, they have to extend sown acreage of oil crops depending on climatic conditions and costs of inputs. Only when they extend the cultivation of oil crops will the country reduce the import volume of palm oil abroad, saving foreign exchange.
Everything is included in the chain of process. High yield and extended sown acreage of various oil crops will contribute to domestic consumption and reduction of oil import. Such an act saves foreign exchange. The saved money can be spent on other development measures for the nation and the people.