India’s castorseed production is likely to witness a 9 per cent growth in the 2023-24 season to October. According to SEA’s (Solvent Extractors’ Association of India) Castor Crop Survey 2023-24, India is estimated to produce 20.54 lakh tonnes (lt) of castorseed during 2023-24 against 18.81 lt in 2022-23.

Also read: Castor seed futures: A bearish path ahead

The survey conducted by the Delhi-based Indian Agribusiness Systems Ltd found that the area under the crop increased to 10.05 lakh hectares (lh) during the 2023-24 season against 9.18 lh in the previous season, recording a growth of 9 per cent.

However, India’s average castorseed productivity is estimated to be 2,044 kg/ha for 2023-24 compared with 2,048 kg/ha in 2022-23. It is based on farmers’ responses about their yield expectations on the current crop condition.

SEA conducts castor crop survey for crop estimation in major growing states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana every year. SEA commissioned Indian Agribusiness Systems Ltd to conduct a crop estimation study in above states through field surveys and remote sensing data analysis.

The survey findings were released during a global castor conference hosted by SEA in Ahmedabad on February 23.

Up a tad in Gujarat

According to the survey findings, total production in Gujarat is estimated to be 15.98 lt during 2023-24 against 15.69 lt in 2022-23, and the total castor seed acreage taken to be at 7.24 lh during 2023-24 as per government’s estimate vis-a-vis last year’s 7.14 lh. Average yield in Gujarat is estimated to be 2,206 kg/ha for 2023-24 compared with 2,196 kg/ha in 2022-23.

Survey noted that the soil moisture condition was adequate for the crop growth/vegetation in Gujarat, while the soil moisture during November-December period was favourable for the reproductive phase of the crop.

Overall temperature throughout the season was at par with last year and in normal range. No sudden temperature change was recorded, and temperature slightly increased in second fortnight of January compared to last year. However, it remained in the range of normal maximum temperature. No adverse effect on crop was reported.

Also read: Castor seed futures: Price drop looms

The minimum temperature in Gujarat remained slightly higher than last year from December onwards as well as normal range. No event of frost was reported due to lower temperature and overall, the crop condition is normal.

Rajasthan area rises

Major increase in acreage was witnessed in Rajasthan. Sowing was early by a month due to good rains in June triggered by cyclone ‘Biparjoy’.

The total castor acreage in Rajasthan is taken to be at 2.09 lh as per the government’s estimate vis-a-vis last year’s 1.49 lh, registering a jump of 40 per cent.

Rains during November and December helped regaining the soil moisture and proved beneficial for crops during reproductive (fruiting) phase. Overall soil moisture availability in later half was beneficial for the crop. Temperature also remained congenial for the crop in Rajasthan.

Total production in the state is estimated to be at 3.66 lt during 2023-24 as against 2.48 lt in 2022-23. Average yield is estimated to be 1,752 kg/ha for 2023-24 compared to 1,663 kg/ha in 2022-23.

Better in AP, Telangana

Total castor acreages in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are taken to be at 0.60 lh as per the government’s estimate vis-a-vis last year’s 0.43 lh. Total production in these two States is estimated to be 0.83 lt during 2023-24 as against 0.57 lt in 2022-23.

The average yield is estimated to be at 1,385 kg/ha for 2023-24 compared to 1,321 kg/ha in 2022-23. Survey findings noted that rainfall in a timely manner as per the crop’s requirement during the critical phases helped in getting slightly better yields. The crop health was at par with the normal and no impact was observed due to change in temperature, it said.

SEA’s executive summary on survey findings said that estimates given are based on two rounds of field surveys and crop conditions till first week of February. Crop estimation is based on government’s acreage and yield estimates arrived from farmers’ survey.

It said that yield re-validation rounds will be carried out in March and April through field visits to assess the impact of adverse weather, if any, or any change in final yields. Accordingly, the production numbers may be revised.

Model farms’ role

BV Mehta, Executive Director of SEA, said the association has been actively involved in establishing castor model farms in Gujarat and Rajasthan over the past eight years to enhance productivity of castorseeds.

Also read: India’s castor output seen 15% higher at 19.46 lakh tonnes for 2022-23

During the global castor conference, SEA inaugurated the ‘World Castor Sustainability Forum’ and introduced the ‘Sustainable Castor Code’. Mehta said these initiatives mark a significant step towards providing sustainable castor oil for international exports, showcasing SEA’s commitment to global environmental responsibility.