India’s mustard output is all set to hit a record 10 million tonnes this year in the wake of the pilot project launched during 2020-21 rabi season. As per the oilseed mission lunched by the government through Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), the sowing area under the crop is said to have reached an all-time high of more than 25 lakh hectare.
This achievement may help the government to launch the oilseed mission on a full-fledged basis from upcoming kharif season across the country.
The weather throughout the winter season was conducive for mustard. There was no report of any pest or disease, nor any weather disturbance. The official production estimates of all rabi crops including mustard may be released this week. The country’s mustard production in 2019-20 crop year (July-June) dropped 1.5% to 9.12 million tonnes due to hailstorms in several areas of Rajasthan, the top producing state, just before the harvesting.
As the country’s import dependence on edible oils was over 70% with an annual outgo of Rs 75,000 crore, the agriculture ministry had proposed a five-year plan of edible oil mission at an estimated expenditure of Rs 19,000-crore in the FY22 Budget.
The government was hesitant to make the pilot public due to the current farmers’ agitation against the three contentious farm laws. A target of 8.5 million hectare sowing area under mustard was set for rabi 2020-21 season and it resulted in a record 7.39 million hectare coverage as of January 29, up by 7% from the year-ago period.
The Rajasthan government expects the mustard acreage to be around 3 million hectare as it compiles district-wise data. The sowing area under the rabi oilseed crop was 2.71 million hectare last year in the state.
The delayed withdrawal of monsoon also helped in retaining the moisture content, and farmers in Rajasthan have started harvesting the crop, which was sown around first week of October. The harvesting in Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, two other leading mustard-growing states, will begin after 15-20 days. The government now plans to take the mustard crop to states like Assam and Jharkhand where potential is high.