Mustard may exceed production target of 13.1 million tons

After nearly 40 per cent growth in 2019-20 and 2022-23, mustard production may fall short of a similar feat this year, although the modest 4 per cent production growth set by the government for 2023-24 is within reach. Farmers in many small states stayed away, although big producing states like Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh did not see much of a jump. Uttar Pradesh is the only exception where the area under cultivation has increased by 32 percent till December 22. Area increased Mustard and rapeseed cultivation increased to 95.23 million hectares (lh) on December 22, 2 percent from 93.46 lh. While in Rajasthan, the cultivated area decreased by 1.6 lh, in Uttar Pradesh, the cultivated area increased by 4.3 lh. There is not much difference in absolute numbers elsewhere. Mustard has not been planted in Ladakh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Tripura and some other states, though the normal area may not even be one lakh hectares, sources said.  

Although there was a plan to increase the area in the Northeast, it did not succeed this year as the total mustard area in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Mizoram and Manipur reached 3.67 lh till last Friday. while the normal area is 3.82 lh. Favorable weather Admitting that it is not possible to achieve the same growth as in the last three years, PK Rai, Director of Rape-Mustard Research Department, Bharatpur, said that the weather was very favourable and the target output can be achieved. “Diseases like white rust and others play an important role in disturbing the mustard crop. Fortunately, there is no such report of pest attack on mustard. As expected, the effect of El Nino is still visible in the country. If the weather continues for the next two months, the set production will be achieved, Rai told business direction. State of Rajasthan  also said that Rajasthan has an important role to play as any changes in the state will also affect the total production of mustard in the country as the winter crop area is large (40-45 percent). 

The Ministry of Agriculture has set the 2023-2024 crop year (July-June) mustard production target is 131.4 lakh tonnes (lt), 2022-23 mustard production is estimated to be 126.43 litres. Mustard production was 91.24 liters in 2019-20. Jodhpur-based Bhagirath Choudhary, founder-director of the South Asian Center for Biotechnology, said that many farmers in Rajasthan have switched to the mustard spice crop and as a result the decline in cultivation could be even greater than the government estimates.”Traditional mustard-growing areas have an extremely negative perception of mustard due to higher than normal temperatures and prevailing lower market prices. Farmers have switched to spices such as cumin, fennel and isabgol. In addition, the effects of El. Nino is already there, felt this season with higher than normal temperatures, no rain and fog in winter conditions, which would ultimately shorten the duration of the harvest, which could affect the overall yield in northern parts”, said Choudhary. Kisan Mahapanchayat President Rampal Jat hopes for a better harvest and more mustard production despite the reduction in cultivation. At the same time, he tried to get 100 percent mustard from the government at minimum support price (MSP), which encourages farmers to stick to the crop or rather increase the area.Recalling the watershed episode of 1998, Jat said: “Central policy plays a major role in mustard prices and the government should ensure that domestic farmers are supported with guaranteed supply from the MSP instead of helping American soybean or palm oil farmers. Indonesian farmers”.

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