Record mustard output likely

Prabhudatta Mishra New Delhi | Updated on November 23, 2021

Area under the oilseed up 30.5%

Production of mustard, the key oilseed of winter (rabi) season, may hit a record as farmers have expanded area to an all-time high on hopes of bumper returns. Currently, prices of mustard are hovering at 52 per cent above the benchmark minimum support price of ₹5,050/quintal. Higher production may also help the country to cut edible oil imports, experts said.

Record demand for seeds

“There was a great demand for seeds from the very beginning and many farmers paid even four-times more (than the rate at which government agencies sold) to secure seeds from the private sector. The area has already crossed the season’s normal acreage in the on-going season and may exceed expectation by close of November,” said P K Rai, director of Bharatpur-based Directorate of Rapeseed-Mustard Research. The country had harvested a record 10.1 million tonnes (mt) of mustard during 2020-21 crop year (July-June). For 2021-22, the government is targeting an area of 7.58 million hectares with a production of 12.24 mt. The mustard and rapeseed crop sowing was at 6.52 million hectare as on November 18, up by 30.5 per cent.

“The production will be not less than what was achieved last year as the conditions are very favourable for the crop and there is no adverse report from any State, so far,” Rai said adding higher output may be helpful to reduce import of overall edible oil. The average yield is also likely to be higher from previous best of 1,511 kg/hectare, he said.

Commenting about impact of DAP shortage impacting productivity, Rai said ICAR had issued advisory to States much before the season to persuade farmers to use Single Super Phosphates (SSP) in place of DAP to increase the yield and there was no problem in availability of SSP fertiliser. DAP is applied before mustard planting, which gets over by November-end as the high yielding varieties have 135-150 days maturity while short duration is of 105-110 days.

The Government plans to bring around nine million hectares of land under mustard cultivation and raise the production to around 17 million tonnes (mt) by 2025-26, according to Shubha Thakur, Joint Secretary (Oilseeds), Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. The government may set up additional 15 mustard seed hub in next few years taking the total to 23 to meet demand, sources said.

While State agriculture universities and ICAR institutes sold mustard seeds at Rs 110/kg, suitable for an acre, many private traders sold these at Rs 400-450. It was also seen that farmers in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur and Alwar and even Eastern Uttar Pradesh were not deterred by rains and re-sown the crop after the first planting got damaged within four days, Rai said. The seed replacement rate in mustard is about 65% which means only 35% of total seeds used by farmers from their own stock and buy the rest from the market.

Average mandi price of mustard in Rajasthan, the biggest producing State, was ₹7,688/quintal last month, up from ₹5,201 year-ago. According to report of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), the gross return in mustard will be 100% over cost of production (A2+FL) if farmers get the MSP and it is the only crop in which the current MSP is close to 150% of C2 cost. Farmers unions have been demanding 50% profit over cost of production (C2) whereas the CACP has been recommending prices at 50% over A2+FL cost.

“Due to mustard prices remaining way above the MSP last year, accompanied by government's focus on enhancing oilseed production there is a sharp increase in mustard acreage. We expect the area under cultivation to increase by about 25-30% to around 70-75 lakh hectares. In line with it, we expect sharp jump in production as well, to be around 105-110 lakh tonnes,” said Suresh Nagpal, chairman of Central Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade (COOIT).

Mustard seed prices have been hovering between ₹8,400-8600 per quintal in the last couple of months. But, with a bumper crop likely this season, there will be some downward pressure on the price, Nagpal said adding yet, it will remain much above the MSP.

Published on November 22, 2021

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