Castor prices are hovering around Rs 1,125 per 20 kg due to unprecedented demand. Sources say that crop size of the castor would be at least 20-30% less in the current season compared to the previous season.
Stakeholders in the castor value chain, especially farmers, have a reason to cheer as spot prices of the commodity has crossed `1,100 per 20kg, first time after 2011.
At present, castor prices are hovering around `1,125 per 20 kg due to unprecedented demand. Sources say that crop size of the castor would be at least 20 to 30% less in the current season compared to the previous season. According to the survey conducted by the Solvent Extractors Association (SEA), castor production is estimated to be 11.26 lakh tonne compared to previous years’ 14.16 lakh tonne.
However, industries using castor in their multiple applications believe that due to lower sowing and unfavourable weather condition, this year castor crop wouldn’t be even 10 lakh tonne.
Since last three years, prices of castor have been subdued at around `700 to `800, and as a result of it, many farmers replaced castor with other crops in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
“Already arrival of castor has begun in the market yards of Gujarat. From April onwards on and average, around 1.75 lakh bags (85 kg/bag) are arriving in the market yards and being sold like hot cakes. Buyers are making a beeline despite high prices as they believe that farmers would sell their stock immediately due to good prices,” said a trader, adding that even export demand of crude castor oil is encouraging. Another reason for higher prices of the commodity is future contracts in castor on the platforms of commodity exchanges, he added.
Castor oil and its derivatives are used in many industries including air-condition, air-fuel, pharmaceutical, dyes & chemical, soap, paints, inks, plastic, perfumes and others. Gujarat contributes almost 80% in the total castor production of the country. Apart from Gujarat and Rajasthan, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are major producers of castor.