SEAI forms teams to assess mustard damage

Tomojit Basu | | Updated on: Mar 09, 2015


With reports of heavy showers having pounded the Rabi mustard crop across key cultivation areas last week, particularly in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEAI) has formed teams that are currently surveying the extent of damage.

The industry body will present its findings at the annual Rabi convention hosted by the Central Organisation of Oil Industry and Trade, which is scheduled to be held on March 15 in Jaipur.

“There is no estimation of the damage yet but we are hearing that certain areas have benefited where there was late sowing such as the Sri Ganganagar belt (in Rajasthan). Our teams are already surveying key areas and the report will be presented at the convention,” said B.V. Mehta, Executive Director, SEAI.

There are a total of 7-8 teams comprising between six and eight members that have been deployed across various States. While Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat will be tracked by one team each, there are four squads assessing damage in Rajasthan which accounts for between 45-47 per cent of domestic rapeseed-mustard output.

Industry impact

While agreeing that the recent showers could benefit the crop in areas where it was planted in late November, industry officials believed the damage was between 15-20 per cent with most of the crop having been ready for harvest. Punjab, Haryana and northern Rajasthan, they said was hit particularly hard.

It could have an impact on prices that could rise by 4-5 per cent. Mustard oil is currently priced between ₹ 70-110/litre.

“Yield per hectare will reduce due to which mustard oil prices would rise. This increase would see people deviating to other economical refined oils like soybean while also resulting in mustard oil being blended with other oils to keep prices low,” said Umesh Verma, spokesperson, Puri Oil Mills.

Rapeseed-mustard is the third largest oilseed grown in India after soybean and groundnut and is generally sown between October-December and harvested by March-April. Area under cultivation has dropped by 10-15 per cent this year as per industry estimates. 

According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures, mustard oil production in India, the world’s fourth largest producer, is pegged at 2.6 million tonnes (mt) in 2014-15, up from 2.5 mt last year.

Published on March 09, 2015
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