Castor seed output in India is projected to increase by 15 per cent to 19.46 lakh tonnes for the year 2022-23. New crop has started arriving in the markets.

The agri research agency Indian Agribusiness Systems or Agriwatch conducted two rounds of the field crop survey covering the castor-growing regions of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

According to the outcome of the primary survey, India’s total castor output is to be 19.46 lakh tonnes for 2022-23, up 15 per cent from 16.94 lakh tonnes in 2021-22.

The estimated sowing area for the year is 9.18 lakh hectares, up 13 per cent from 8.11 lakh hectares last year. The estimated yield is likely to improve marginally by 2 per cent to 2,129 kg per hectare for the year as against 2,087 kg per hectare estimated for the previous year.

High global demand

The survey was released at the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA)‘s Global Castor Conference in Ahmedabad on Saturday. During the discussions on the castor demand and supply outlook, trade leaders projected higher global demand for castor derivatives including oils. India is the world’s largest castor seed grower.

Speaking to businessline, Shailesh Baldha, Chairman of SEA Castor Seed & Oil Promotion Council, underlined the export prospects as the consuming countries will start building fresh inventories as the global supply pipeline is almost empty.

“Currently, the stock of castor seed or oil is tight and lower than usual at each level of the supply chain starting from farmers, traders, processors, exporters, importers, distributors and consumers. The demand during 2023 is likely to be better than the previous year with an improvement in consumption numbers and rebuilding of inventories to normal levels,” said Baldha.

The global demand and increased consumption in the domestic market including the applications of castor meal as fertiliser, will keep the prices upbeat, sources revealed.

For the farmers, prices below ₹6,250 per quintal may not be remunerative and may desist farmers from selling their crops, whereas a higher price level of ₹7,250 appeared to be a short-term phenomenon and the market may hold below that level.

In the spot market at Deesa in North Gujarat, castor prices are quoted at ₹6,761 per quintal. However, farmer sources and traders underlined the climatic uncertainties to influence the prices till April end.

Agriwatch estimates

The Agriwatch survey estimates an 11 per cent increase in castor crop for the largest grower Gujarat at 16.17 lakh tonnes, up from 14.55 lakh tonnes last year. The yield is estimated at 2,283 kg supported by improved water availability in the growing districts of the State. Gujarat’s castor area is estimated at 7.14 lakh hectares, up from 6.52 lakh hectares last year.

For Rajasthan, castor output is estimated at 2.64 lakh tonnes, up from 1.94 lakh tonnes last year with a yield projected to be 1,793 kg (1,620 kg last year). Acreage in Rajasthan is estimated at 1.49 lakh hectares, up from 1.2 lakh.

The castor output in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana collectively is estimated at 57,000 tonnes, up from 34,000 tonnes last year with yields at 1,321 kg. The total castor area for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is estimated at 43,000 hectares.