This achievement may help the government to launch the oilseed mission from upcoming kharif season across the country.
The country’s mustard production in 2019-20 crop year (July-June) dropped 1.5% to 9.12 million tonne due to hailstorms in several areas of Rajasthan, the top producing state, just before the harvesting.
The country’s mustard output is all set to be a record 10 million tonne this year after the sowing area under the crop is said to have reached an all time high of more than 25 lakh hectare as the government rolled out the oilseed mission as a pilot during 2020-21 rabi season. This achievement may help the government to launch the oilseed mission from upcoming kharif season across the country.
“The weather throughout the winter season was conducive for mustard. There was no report of any pest or disease, nor any weather disturbance. The production will be at least 10 million tonne this year,” said PK Rai, director of Bharatpur-based Welcome to ICAR-Directorate of Rapeseed-Mustard Research (DRMC).
The official production estimates of all rabi crops including mustard may be released this week. The country’s mustard production in 2019-20 crop year (July-June) dropped 1.5% to 9.12 million tonne due to hailstorms in several areas of Rajasthan, the top producing state, just before the harvesting.
As the country’s import dependence on edible oils was over 70% with an annual outgo of Rs 75,000 crore, the agriculture ministry had proposed a five-year plan of edible oil mission at an estimated expenditure of Rs 19,000-crore in the FY22 Budget.
The Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India has already expressed the industry’s disappointment as no such announcement was made by the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. During FY20 Budget speech in July 2019, she had said: “I place my appreciation for our farmers who have made India self-sufficient in pulses. I am sure they will repeat such a success even in the production of oilseeds. Our import bill shall be reduced by their Seva.” Since 2019, nothing has been heard from the government on raising oilseeds output.
The government was hesitant to make the pilot public due to the current farmers’ agitation against the three contentious farm laws, sources said. A target of 8.5 million hectare sowing area under mustard was set for rabi 2020-21 season and it resulted in a record 7.39 million hectare coverage as of January 29, up by 7% from the year-ago period. The Rajasthan government expects the mustard acreage to be around 3 million hectare as it compiles district-wise data. The sowing area under the rabi oilseed crop was 2.71 million hectare last year in the state.
“The delayed withdrawal of monsoon helped in retaining the moisture content, and as usual farmers in Rajasthan have started harvesting the crop, which was sown around first week of October. Whereas as the harvesting in Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, two other leading mustard-growing states, will begin after 15-20 days,” Rai of DRMC said.
He also said that the government’s thrust is to take the mustard crop to states like Assam and Jharkhand where potential is high, part from increasing the areas in the traditionally growing states. As the crop needs at least two irrigation in the season, Rai said there are varieties which are suitable for Assam and other non-traditional states and can be grown after paddy harvest as those fields remain non-utilised to grow any winter crop. Besides, mustard can replace toria (a similar crop) in Assam as it will increase the yield 2-3 times to 10-12 quintal per hectare, he added.