India’s rapeseed production may hit record 8.5 million tonnes in 2018-19: SEA

Rapeseed production in India in 2018/19 is expected to rise nearly 19 per cent from a year earlier to a record 8.5 million tonnes due to conducive weather and as higher prices prompted farmers to expand areas under planting, a leading trade body Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.

Rapeseed mustard is the main winter-sown oilseed in India. Higher rapeseed production could help the world’s biggest buyer of edible oil in limiting its overseas purchases. India imports about two-thirds of its edible oil demand.

Farmers planted rapeseed mustard on 6.64 million hectares in 2018/19, up from 6.39 million hectares a year ago, SEA said. Around a quarter of rapeseed crop has been harvested so far and the remaining will be harvested in the next few weeks, the association said.

The higher production is evidently an outcome of the “Mustard Mission 2020” launched in 2017 that aims to raise the production of Rape-Mustard seed to 10 million tonnes by 2020. The Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) also supports technological interventions, including introduction of GM Mustard Crop to enhance the competitiveness of mustard cultivation.

SEA has also helped in persuading the farmers in Punjab and Haryana to partly switch over from wheat to mustard crop to achieve the objective of the mission. All these efforts would help to reduce India’s dependence on imported vegetable oil and contribute in a small way in improving the Edible Oil Security of the country.

Rapeseed-Mustard is the main oilseed crop for the Rabi season which is planted on more than 80 per cent area covered under oilseeds. Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat are the highest sown states of mustard seed accounting for more than 70 per cent of total mustard acreage in the country.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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