Scientific research

Cultivation of drought-resistant oilseed and forage crop - safflower in rainfed areas of Tajikistan

Author: Knowledge Management in CACILM Phase II, ICARDA.

Definition of technology:

Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is a drought- and heatresistant crop, the biological characteristics of which and its adaptive capacity correspond most to the rigid climatic conditions of Tajikistan. Safflower is a multi-purpose crop (oil is used for food and industrial purposes, stems - as livestock feed, seeds are a food for poultry).

Brief summary of technology:

Safflower is an annual herbaceous plant with a height of 90-120 cm, densely covered with spikes, has a deep highly branched root system. Seeds contain 30 to 44% of oil. Farmers of some districts of Tajikistan grow safflower already for 5-6 years, and consider this plant as very profitable, low-cost crop. The technology of safflower cultivation does not consider any special agricultural activities, so it fits easily into the existing farming system. Main activities include: spring plowing to a depth of 22-25 cm, planting with spacing of 45-60 cm to a depth of 4-5 cm, seeding rate of 20-25 kg/ha.

The seeds germinate at a soil temperature of +2... +3°C, shootings appear in 8-10 days after sowing, and are able to withstand frost of up to -3 ... -6°C. Flowering occurs within 65-70 days and lasts about a month. The period from flowering to seed maturation is 35-40 days. Harvesting is carried out by grain harvesters after the plants are fully dried (because it is not possible to manually mow safflower due to the presence of spikes). Weight of 1000 seeds can range from 35 to 50 g. The average seed yield of safflower in Tajikistan is 12-15 kg/ha. In addition, the farmers receive up to 2 t/ha of the top thin twigs, which can serve as cattle feed in winter, and up to 2 t/ha non-edible lower thicker stems, which can be used as fuel. 100 kg of cake after oil extraction contains 55 feed units and 13.3 kg of digestible protein. Safflower seeds are a good food for poultry. Another property of this plant is, safflower is a moderate honey plant, which contributes to the development of beekeeping.

Safflower does not require certain soil conditions to grow, but the maintenance of crop rotation is very important. Cropping is conducted after harvesting winter crops, maize (unacceptable to grow after sunflower). Diseases and pests exert almost no damage to the plant, so pesticides are not used.

Farmers also not apply mineral fertilizers, so safflower oil and cake are environmentally friendly.

Due to the growing interest to this crop, domestic breeders are working to develop more productive and adapted varieties. A "Shifo" variety was bred for sufficient and semi-sufficient conditions of rainfed agricultural system.

The growing season lasts 105-120 days when sowing in the spring (March-April) and 175-185 days when sowing in the autumn (November). To increase the yield, application of mineral fertilizers is recommended at a rate of N80P70K60, the variety also responds well to irrigation.

Area of technology application: 30 ha.

Stage of intervention: alleviation / reduction of land degradation.

Main land use issues and the main causes of land degradation:

Agro-depletion of soil - reduced fertility and cropyields due to improper land management, nonobservance of crop rotations. Severe infestation of crops. Strong drying of soil in rainfed conditions during summer season.

Main technical features of technology:

Increasing biomass (yield); prevention of water (irrigational) and wind erosion; adaptation to climate

Type of land use Conservation measures

Rainfed arable land.

Production of annual crops - Во(Ca).

Agronomic measures:

A1: Vegetation and soil cover.

Management measures:

Y5: Control / change of species composition.


Habitat Anthropogenic environment

Average annual rainfall: 400-800 mm.

Altitude (meter above sea level): 600-1000 m.

Landscape: Valleys, plateaus \ plain, piedmont slopes.

Slope (%): 2-8%.

Soil fertility: low, average.

Humus content in arable horizon: <1%; 1-3%.

Natural soil drainage/infiltration: low and average.

Size of land area (ha): from 1 to 30-50 ha.

Landholder: medium and large scale farms.

Land ownership: long-term lease from the state.

Water use rights: state.

Market orientation: mixed farming (subsistence and commercial).


Impact of technology

Main advantages:

- increased drought tolerance, does not require special soil conditions;

- prevention of irrigational erosion because the crop is cultivated without irrigation;

- increase of household income;

- growing safflower is profitable, highly cost-effective, cultivation technology is simple, with relatively low production costs;

- a high-quality environmentally friendly vegetable oil and at the same time high energy, environmentally friendly animal feed;

- coarse stems are used for fuel;

- plants are spiky and so are not exposed to cattle eating - no need for fence and protection;

- the petals are good colors-dyes and can be used for food purpose (yellow substitute of saffron) and for dyeing tissues and wool (red);

- safflower is ideal for sharp continental arid climate: mature plant can withstand extreme heat and lack of water, and safflower seedlings can withstand short frosts below - 4-6°C.

Main disadvantages:

- cannot grow in waterlogged soils with a high water table;

- safflower leaves are densely covered with spikes, it is

impossible to mow manually, and so combine harvester

is required that not all dehkhans possess;

- lack of awareness amongst farmers about agrotechniques of this crop cultivation.

Acceptance/adoption of technology: This technology is increasingly being implemented voluntarily (without financial support) by farmers of Kulyab and Hissar natural-economic zones.


1. Norov M.S. Scientific substantiation of technology of growing safflower in rainfed conditions of Central Tajikistan: Abstract for the degree of doctor of agricultural sciences: 06.01.09. - Moscow, 2006. - 273 p .: ill. RSL OD, 71 06-6 / 83.

2. Norov M.S., J. Shomurodov. Recommendations for the cultivation of safflower in Tajikistan. Dushanbe, 2011. – Reports, Institute of Agriculture TAAS.

3. Internet resource -, and private communication with the farmer, Dzhahonbek Boev, Faizabad district.

The contact details of the employee completing this template: Tosh Narzulloev, Institute of Agriculture, Deputy director of Science.


Gulniso Nekushoeva, Senior researcher at the Institute of Soil Science TAAS.

Address: 21a., Rudaki ave., Dushanbe.

Tel.: +992 919 00 92 46;





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