Less farmers sow mustard, blame on last year’s poor prices, this year’s bad weather
This year, the sowing area of mustard has gone down in Rajasthan this Rabi season as the weather has played spoilsport. According to the agriculture department, against the target of 26 lakh hectares, mustard has been sown only on 20.49 lakh hectares.
An agriculture department official, on the condition of anonymity, said that there are three reasons for sowing less mustard this season. First, the state did not receive rain in September and October and there was no moisture in the soil, so farmers could not sow mustard. Second, the temperature was high in October which the affected sowing and third, the rate of mustard in the market was not attractive.
Last year, the minimum support price for mustard was Rs 3,700 per quintal and the market rate was between Rs 3,000 and Rs 3,300 per quintal. In previous years, mustard was being purchased for Rs 3,800-4,500 per quintal. Farmers lost interest in mustard as it was fetching poor prices in the market.
The official also said that the average production of mustard has been 1.4 tonne per hectare. This rabi season, the production will be around 10 lakh tonne short.
Less sowing will also affect the availability of edible oil in the country. India is the third largest producer of mustard after Canada and China. In India, Rajasthan stands in the first position producing about 48% of the country’s mustard.
“It’s true that mustard has been sown on 20.49 lakh hectares, which means there is a shortfall of 5.50 lakh hectares,” said agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini.
“At present, the department is focusing on meeting the challenges such as moisture, ground frost and pest management. As of now the condition of the crop is good. However, during January and February, the mustard crop needs moisture. Hopefully, it rains during these two months. In January and February, there is also the problem of ground frost. The best minimum temperature for mustard is 4-10 degrees and if the temperature dips below 4 degree Celsius crop gets damaged,” Saini said.
The minister said that from February onwards there is the problem of aphid attack, also known as plant lice. The department is alert and farmers have been advised about what to use to avoid the attack.
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