Sunflower is a crop with high oil and economic values which portends its great potential for enhancing agricultural productivity and poverty alleviation among smallholder farmers. These notwithstanding, optimum benefit of the sunflower value chain have not been adequately harnessed. Conceived with the backdrop of lack of awareness about the commercial, nutritional and medicinal potentials of sunflower among the rural farm families, the study assessed the utilisation of sunflower among smallholder farmers in two southwestern states (Ogun and Ekiti) of Nigeria, and two districts (southeast and Kgatleng) of Botswana in sub-Saharan Africa. A total of two hundred smallholder farmers were randomly chosen from four purposively selected farming communities in southwestern Nigeria and Botswana districts. Results showed that 49 and 84% of the respondents were aware about the sunflower crop in Nigeria and Botswana, respectively, while only 10 and 25% cultivated the crop, respectively. The results further showed that all those (25%) who cultivated the crop in Botswana utilised it as animal feed only, while their Nigerian counterpart utilised it for variety of purposes. While 6 and 7% utilised it as animal feed and manure/fertiliser production, respectively, in Nigeria, 2, 5 and 8%, respectively, used it for cake/snack production, and traditional and ornamental purposes. Yet, another 6% cultivated the sunflower crop for seed oil extraction. The study concluded that, although, higher proportion of smallholder farmers from Botswana knew about and cultivated the sunflower crop, yet, their Nigeria counterpart utilised the crop more. The need for continuous popularization of the production and utilisation of sunflower crop among smallholder farmers was therefore recommended in both Bostwana and Nigeria.
Key words: Sunflower utilisation, smallholder farmers, value chain.
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