Estimating a record mustard crop during the current rabi season, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) has urged the Government to procure it under MSP scheme.

In his monthly letter to the members of SEA, Ajay Jhunjhunwala, SEA President, said the area under rabi oilseed crop is more or less same during the current year when compared to the last year. However, acreage under rape-mustard crop has increased by about 2.5 lakh hectares.

RMSI Cropalytics Pvt Ltd, which has been engaged by the association for all-India rape-mustard crop survey, has been regularly submitting updated reports on mustard crop. Moisture levels are quite good and mustard crop is shaping up well.

“While RMSI would submit the final report and crop estimate by middle of March, current indications are quite positive and we would not be to surprised to have a record crop of mustard in the current rabi season,” he said.

Stating that the current mustard price is ruling below MSP (minimum support price), he said peak arrivals in the next two weeks would put pressure on price, lowering it further below MSP. “I request the Government to instruct their procurement agencies for action, that is to start procurement at MSP from the mandis to support farmers,” he said.

Oilseed abhiyan

Referring to the interim budget proposal on ‘Aatmanirbhar Oilseeds Abhiyan’, he appealed to the Government for adequate financial support to achieve the successful implementation of the ‘abhiyan’.

The association’s goal is to reduce the current dependency on edible oil imports from 60 per cent to 30 per cent over the next 10 years. He estimated that there would be additional one million tonne requirement per year due to consumption and population growth.

He stressed the need to encourage private partnerships with companies engaged in oilseed extension programme and research activities. Non-traditional sources such as ricebran, tree-borne oilseeds, cottonseed and maize should also be covered under this ‘abhiyan’.

“This collaborative approach will complement Government’s efforts and significantly contribute to the augmentation of oilseed production and productivity in the country,” Jhunjhunwala said.

Ban on ricebran

Referring to the extension of export ban on de-oiled ricebran till March 31, he said it has hurt the domestic processors of ricebran in Eastern India, particularly in West Bengal.

Stating that export of brown rice is taking place, he said India indirectly exports ricebran by exporting brown rice, as the importing countries process it. This indirectly circumvents export ban on de-oiled ricebran. This further affects domestic rice mills and ricebran processing industries by way of decrease in raw material availability, he said.

SEA has sent a representation to Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution, to halt export of brown rice.

Global castor meet

He said the 22nd Global Castor Conference will be organised in Ahmedabad on February 22-23. During the event, ‘World Castor Sustainability Forum’ will be launched. Castor Council has already initiated the draft ‘Castor Sustainability Code’ to promote sustainable practices in the castor industry, and will be launched from April 1.