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Mumbai, Feb. 18

CASTORSEED production in the country, world's largest producer, is expected to increase to around 8.53 lakh tonnes for the current season 2004-05, up by 12 per cent over previous season 2003-04, according to a study by AC Neilsen ORG-Marg.

The study was released at the 3rd National Seminar on "Castorseed, crop prospects and price outlook" organised by the Solvent Extractors' Association (SEA) here.

The total area under castor crop is expected to increase 22 per cent to 8.21 lakh hectares over the previous season. Average yield for season 2004-05 is likely to be 1,039 kg a hectare as against 1,126 kg a hectare during 2003-04.

Gujarat is the largest producer of castor seed in the country, followed by Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.

In Gujarat, the area under castor crop is 3.66 lakh hectares, a growth of 26 per cent. Average yield for the current season is 1,507 kg. The production in the State is expected to go up by 2 per cent to 5.51 lakh tonnes.

In Rajasthan, area is 1.21 lakh hectares, up 90 per cent. Estimated production for 2004-05 is 1.74 lakh tonne, almost double. Average yield for 2004-05 is 1,439 kg a hectare.

In Andhra Pradesh, area is 3.34 lakh hectares, a growth of 12 per cent. Production for 2004-05 is estimated at 1.27 lakh tonnes. Average yield is 382 kg a hectare.

In his welcome address during the seminar, Mr Shvetal Vakil, Chairman SEA - Castorseed and Oil Council said countries such as Brazil and China had adopted a strategic, long-term approach and focused their resources on technology development adding value to commodity within the country and resorted to exports of value-added products.

The global castor derivatives market was estimated to be about $500 million and remunerative as well, particularly in comparison to our current focus at commodity end where India's exports had hovered around $150-$175 million per annum in recent years, he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 19, 2005)
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