The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) expects the production of mustard at 111.83 lakh tonnes (lt) for the 2022-23 season.
In his monthly letter to the members of the SEA of India on Monday, Ajay Jhunjhunwala, President of SEA, said the RMSI Cropanalytics Pvt Ltd, which had carried out rape-mustard estimate for 2022-23 in March, had estimated total crop 115.25 lt. Stating that the unseasonal rain during March impacted the crop, he said the revised and final yield of the crop production has been estimated at 111.83 lt.
Prices below MSP
Expressing concerns over mustard prices ruling below the MSP (minimum support price), he said the mustard price is currently ruling at Rs.5,100 a quintal in the agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) yards. However, the farmers receive only Rs.4,600-Rs.4,700 a quintal on hand after deducting APMC yard tax and other charges. APMC yard prices of mustard continue to rule below the MSP of Rs.5,450 a quintal for the season despite the government’s move to procure the oilseeds from the farmers.
Stating that the government is aiming to increase mustard production in the country to 200 lt by 2025-26, he said the Centre has increased mustard MSP by over Rs.1,000 a quintal over the last four years. Additionally, high crop prices during sowing period encouraged farmers to expand the area under mustard. ‘Unfortunately, at the time of harvesting, price has fallen much below the MSP. The farmers are reluctant to sell at such low prices and are greatly discouraged. This may lead to a lower area under soyabean in the ensuing kharif season and mustard in the rabi season,’ Jhunjhunwala said.
He hoped that the government agencies such as Nafed and Hafed step up their procurement of mustard seed at MSP and create a buffer stock for any likely eventuality due to El Nino affecting the oilseed crop.
El Nino chances
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted a moderate El Nino lowering monsoon rainfall in India this year. The Climate Prediction Centre of US has predicted that there is a 60 per cent chance of El Nino setting in during May-July and increasing to 70 per cent during June-August. He said this may affect maize, soyabean and rice production in India.
On the castor crop survey, he said AgriWatch conducted castor crop survey on behalf of the association. The first estimate of 19.63 lt was arrived at during January-end, and it was presented at the Castor Conference. The estimate was revised downward to 19.06 lt in March.
Stating that AgriWatch has submitted the final report, he said the total all-India castor crop has been estimated at 18.81 lt for 2022-23 against 16.94 lt in the previous year.
This article has been republished from The Hindu Business Line