Agri Business

Model mustard farms: Evaluation report finds 50% higher productivity

Our Bureau Mangaluru | Updated on April 21, 2021

Average productivity of model farms was 2,728.59 kg/hectare in 2020-21, according to MART study

The Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India has come out with the finding that a model farms project, ‘SEA-Solidaridad Mustard Model Farms’, launched by it has resulted in average productivity increasing by about 50 per cent than that of the ‘control group’.

Releasing the outcome of third-party evaluation report of its project, it said 200 model farms were set up during the current rabi season to demonstrate effective farming techniques to around 1,000 farmers in Bundi, Kota, Baran and Tonk districts of Rajasthan under the project.

The Noida-based MART Global Management Solutions had come out with the third-party evaluation report, ‘Solidaridad-SEA Model Mustard Farms 2020-21’.

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According to the MART study, the average productivity of model farms was 2,728.59 kg/hectare in 2020-21 against 1,915.83 kg/hectare of the ‘control group’, which is 48.89 per cent higher than the productivity of the ‘control group’.

The evaluation report said that 17.5 per cent of model farmers from all four districts were covered during the study. In addition, non-project mustard farmers equal to one-fourth of number of model farmer respondents were also covered as ‘control group’ for assessing the difference in productivity.

The average productivity of model farms increased by 71.67 per cent against the ‘control group’ in Tonk district; it went up by 57.71 per cent in Bundi district. Productivity was up by 17.28 per cent in Kota and Baran districts.

The productivity of the model farms in 2020-21 was measured against their productivity without project’s support in the previous year. The average productivity without support in 2019-20 was measured at 2000 kg/hectare. The average productivity with project’s support was measured at 2728 kg/hectare in 2020-21.

Project’s role

Under the SEA- Solidaridad project, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides were bought by farmers as per the advice of Solidaridad. Farmers used DAP in lower quantity (10 kg/bigha compared to 25-30 kg/bigha earlier) urea, single super phosphate (SSP) and zinc sulphate. Lower usage of fertilizers helped in saving costs, it said. (6.25 bigha is equal to 1 hectare)

Farmer field schools, actively supported by the Agricultural Department and Krishi Vigyan Kendra, were set up. Operations such as seed treatment, sowing, thinning and topping, along with filed estimation techniques, irrigation methods, balanced dose of fertilizers and soil conservation, were part of the curriculum at critical stages of plant development.

To support robust cultivation, improved variety of seeds were also provided to farmers at subsidised rates, and the selection of the right variety of seeds also fell under the training programme of the farming community.

Mustard versus wheat

The report also made a comparison of costs and resources involved in the cultivation of mustard and wheat. While one-two times of irrigation was sufficient for a duration of four-five months from sowing to harvesting in mustard, the need for irrigation went up to five-six times (each for every 20-25 days) for a duration of seven-eight months from sowing to harvesting in the case of wheat.

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The approximate cost incurred till the point of sales was ₹35,438/hectare in the case of mustard; for wheat, it was ₹61,563/hectare . The selling price was at ₹5,300/quintal for mustard (based on the average market price prevailing in local mandis during the first fortnight of March) and for wheat it was at ₹1,800/quintal .

Quoting Atul Chaturvedi, President of SEA of India, the SEA statement said the study conducted by MART will encourage the shift towards mustard crop particularly in Punjab, Haryana and other States by demonstrating the financial viability of mustard over conventional crops such as rice, wheat and sugarcane.

BV Mehta, Executive Director of SEA of India, said SEA plans to establish more than 500 model farms in ensuing rabi season connecting over 25,000 mustard farmers in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to demonstrate the way forward towards self-sufficiency in edible oil.

Published on April 20, 2021

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