Govt needs to focus on mustard crops to make India self-reliant in oilseed production: SEA

In order to make the country self-reliant in oilseed production, the Solvent Extractors' Association (SEA) of India has demanded that the central government give more focus on mustard crops. The president of SEA Ajay Jhunjhunwala said that India has emerged as the largest importer of edible oils in the world and the domestic consumption of edible oil has touched the level of about 240 lakh tons which is likely to increase further with the growing population and per capita income.

He said that India currently produces around 100 lakh tons of edible oil. The gap between the demand and supply of edible oils is about 140 lakh tons and is met through imports. He said ‘The dependency on imported edible oil is a matter of concern and to address this challenge, India needs to critically look into the ways and means to increase the productivity of oilseeds crops including important crops of mustard’.

Jhunjhunwala said that the government should also make efforts to ensure that the farmers get the proper price for the crops so that they are not demoralized towards cultivation. He said that under the Mustard Mission initiated by the association, mustard model farms are being developed wherein key support is given in field preparations, seed preparations, sowing management, nutrient management, fertilizer, plant growth management and harvesting to the farmers.

He said ‘These model farms serve as a paradigm to all the surrounding farmers. Through this process, farmers get to understand the good practices in mustard production which consequently helps in higher production’. He informed that the project was started in 2020-21 with 400 model farms in five districts of Rajasthan. In 2021-22, the project was expanded to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh with 500 more model farms and in 2022-23, 1234 model farms were developed in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.