Farmers in Haryana are preferring Mustard over wheat, considering high edible oil prices

With the prospect of a bumper crop in the next rabi season and rising edible oil prices, more and more farmers in Haryana’s wheat-growing areas are turning to mustard production. 

Mustard was once the predominant crop in the non-irrigated southern regions of Haryana, but according to sources, mustard sowing is increasingly rising in the northern areas as well. 

Farmers are seeing mustard as a better alternative than wheat, with open market prices exceeding 7,000 per quintal last year compared to the MSP of 4,650 per quintal. According to them, mustard has a lower input cost than wheat and has become more profitable as a result of the recent increase in edible oil prices. 

Mustard is also a viable option for intercropping with sugarcane since it can be harvested in three to four months. 

Sumita Misra, the state government’s additional chief secretary for agriculture and farmers’ welfare, said that in addition to last year’s pricing trends and higher MSP for mustard, the state government’s initiatives for crop diversification have also driven more farmers to grow mustard. 

The government, however, intends to expand the area under oilseeds and has boosted their production by raising the MSP. 

According to agriculture experts, the MSP for mustard has climbed by almost 31% in the last five years and has been raised to Rs 5,050 per quintal for the upcoming rabi harvesting season, up from Rs 4,000 in 2017-18. 

High price of mustard is one of the main reasons they are switching to oilseed production. Increasing mustard acreage however, will lower edible oil costs, but if the government increases edible oil imports and lowers import duties, it will also affect mustard prices.  “The government will procure mustard to ensure price stability even if market prices in the open market come down,” Haryana agriculture department director general Hardeep Singh said when asked if the government will be able to procure the entire produce of the farmers if the area under mustard grows even more. The MSP will be used by the government to help farmers. 

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