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Punjab sees 37.5 % rise in area under mustard, rapeseeds

The total area under mustard/rapeseed mustard has increased from 32,000 hectares last season to 44,000 hectares this year which is witan increase of around 37.5 per cent.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
December 6, 2021 5:52:33 am

Cultivation of mustard/rapeseed oil is still on but the state has already witnessed a considerable increase in its area this year. But still for Punjab it is not a reason to celebrate as the area under this crop is nowhere close to what it was four decades ago.

The total area under mustard/rapeseed mustard has increased from 32,000 hectares last season to 44,000 hectares this year which is witan increase of around 37.5 per cent. The area may increase further as still some farmers are sowing it, said the state Agriculture Department.

In 1974-75, the crop had 1.80 lakh hectares under it which came down to 1.58 lakh hectares in 1987-88 and 1.01 lakh hectares in 1995-96. In the year 2000-01, this area further decreased to 55,000 hectares and since then it has been dropping.

Experts said that this time there was huge demand for the seeds of this crop this year, but it was not sufficiently available either with the department or with the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana.

Varinder Sardana, principal agronomist and in-charge, oilseeds section, department of plant breeding and genetics, Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), said: “We have grown the seed as per the average demand annually in the state, but this time a larger number of farmers have demanded canola sarson seed from us and our entire seed was sold quickly and several farmers could not even get it and then they had to purchase it from the private certify companies.”

He said that there is huge scope for the crop and farmers must be supported as just 1 kg seed is required in one acre and at PAU it was available at Rs 160 per kg only.

PAU will multiply it more for the next season, he said.

Experts said that this increase is not sufficient and Punjab needs to give at least 6- 7 lakh hectares under varieties like ‘Canola Sarson’ which would help the state to embark upon the much needed diversification path by breaking the wheat-paddy crop cycle. It has a huge market and the government can easily help the farmers to sell it at a quite remunerative price, said an expert of Punjab Agriculture Department.

General Secretary, BKU (Dakunda), Jagmohan Singh, said that the major reason for drastic decrease of the area under oilseed was poor government policy.

“India has a huge market for this but our government is importing it from other countries by spending huge amounts instead motivating its farmers to grow these by providing them good prices and doing away with wheat and paddy,” he added.

“We need to have a perfect model of crops and their marketing system so that both farmers and government can be benefit from that but our government is not thinking in that direction,” he said, adding that if you provide fair and assured price and market to the farmer’s crop, the country’s agriculture scenario will see a great positive change.

Experts said that Punjab is consuming oil worth around Rs 13,000 to Rs 14,000 crores every year and out of which the state is producing oil worth Rs 49 to 50 lakh only and there is a huge scope to tap this market locally in the state only by setting up the processing and packing units.

Newly appointed Director State Agriculture Department Dr Gurvinder Singh said that the department is planning to promote the oilseed crops and that is why this time area under mustard oilseed crops has increased to some extent and even now PAU has been developing Canola oil varieties, which are considered very good for health.

Meanwhile this year, the area under other oilseeds has also increased to some extent. In the Kharif season, groundnut area increased from 2,000 hectares in 2020-21 to 2,500 hectares this year, Sesamum area increased from 2,500 hectares in 2020-21 to 3,000 this year. Under sunflower also the area was recorded at 5,000 hectares against 2,400 hectares last year.

The state used to have an area under sesamum, groundnut and sunflower at 26,000 hectares (1974-75), 1.22 lakh hectares (1967-68) and 1.03 lakh hectares (1995-96).

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