Outcome of an experiment in Gujrat conducted over 160 hectares in six districts, using the 'GCH-7' variety of higher yielding seed, developed by Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University (SDAU), Palanpur  on castor seed has yielded double the output over conventional farming, without any change in farming methods or additional expense.

Farming was done under the guidance and continuous monitoring of Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA). This will bring the revolutionary change to the lives of thousands of farmers indulged in caster seed farming across Gujarat, Telangana, Rajasthan and all the other major growing states, which could double farmer's income without significant change in farming methods or additional input cost.

There is always demand for derivatives of castor seed from the world market and  India supplies around 90 per cent of the world demand for castor oil and castor meal demand from abroad has regularly risen. castor oil is used in a number of industries, including pharmaceuticals and in aviation (as a fuel which does not freeze at even 40 degrees of negative temperature). India exports 200,000 tonnes of castor meal to Japan and other countries. Castor oil is used for various industrial purposes, the meal finds application as bio-fertilizer.

The development assumes significance in the rise of farmers shifting to other crops for better return. After annual record output of 2.3 million tonnes, castor seed prices had slumped to Rs 2,750 a quintal (the wholesale price in Gujrat is now Rs 4,075 a qtl), resulting in farmers opting for other crops.

SEA plans to expand the model farming area this year to 200 hectares across Gujarat, Telangana and Rajasthan, with the same variety of seed and farm practices. Doubling the output will not make any difference in its prices, due to its constantly increasing demand. Hence, farmers might chose to grow more of it for better and sustained realization.

 

MAHENDRA KURRE
KRISHI JAGRAN/New Delhi


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