Agri Business

Rabi oilseed planting begins on sluggish note

| | Updated on: Oct 28, 2012
image caption

Drop in temperatures to see rise in acreage

Planting of oilseeds for the rabi season has started on a sluggish note on delayed kharif harvest.

Early data from the Agriculture Ministry suggests that sowing of key rabi oilseeds such as rapeseed, mustard and safflower are yet to gain momentum.

As of October 25, the acreage under rabi oilseeds stood at 8.37 lakh hectares, down by more than half of last year’s 20.15 lakh ha in the corresponding period.

Rapeseed mustard has, so far, been planted in about 6.71 lakh ha against 18.55 lakh ha in the corresponding period last year.

“Farmers are waiting for the temperatures to come down,” said B.V. Mehta, Executive Director of Solvent Extractors Association of India, expressing optimism that “sowing will pick up over the next two to three weeks”.

Further, the delay in harvesting of kharif crops such as rice and other cereals may push back the rabi planting by a couple of weeks.

The delayed arrival of the South-West monsoon this year had hurt the kharif crops.

Besides, the farmers are also waiting for the minimum support price (MSP) announcement from the Government to decide on their plantings.

“Farmers will look at prices of competitive crops before deciding on plantings,” Mehta said.

The Government is expected to announce minimum support prices for rabi crops over the next couple of weeks. The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) has recommended a Rs 500 increase in MSP of rapeseed mustard at Rs 3,000 a quintal for the 2012-13 season. For safflower, the MSP hike has been suggested at Rs 200 to Rs 2,800 a quintal.

The oilseed extraction industry is expecting a 20 per cent rise in rabi output this year.

Rapeseed mustard output is pegged at 6.5 million tonnes against last year’s 5.5 million tonnes, as late revival in monsoon has created a conducive atmosphere for rabi plantings.

The kharif oilseed had taken a hit on account of delayed and erratic monsoons and the total output is pegged lower at 18.78 million tonnes against last year’s 20.78 million tonnes.

>Vishwanath.kulkarni@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 28, 2012

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