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Why More and More Farmers in Haryana Are Shifting To Mustard Farming

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.

Chintu Das
Mustard Farming
Mustard Farming

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. 

"I made Rs 50,000 last year from only one acre of mustard." Jasvinder Singh, a farmer from Ladwa in Kuruksehtra district, stated, "This year I sowed the crop on five acres," he added. 

In another instance, Ishwar Singh of Karnal's Indri block, who has planted mustard on six acres, says it is the finest 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, feels 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. 

Diversification of Crops 

Agriculture specialists, on the other hand, do not consider it, crop diversification since they believe the government intends to expand the area under oilseeds and has boosted their production by raising the MSP. 

According to them, 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. 

"Farmers aren't planting mustard to diversify their crops. The high price of mustard is one of the main reasons they are switching to oilseed production. "If there is a certain monetary gain, farmers are willing to switch to other crops," agriculture analyst Devinder Sharma said. 

He claims that increasing mustard acreage will lower edible oil costs, but that 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. 

4.73 Hectares of Mustard Had Been Sowed 

According to state agricultural department data, the area under mustard cultivation in Haryana has increased significantly. It grew from 5.62 lakh hectare in 2019-20 to roughly 6.10 lakh hectare in 2020-21. 

"Mustard has already been seeded on roughly 4.73 hectare land until October 28," said a senior official of the state agricultural department, "and there is a good likelihood that it would reach over 8 lakh hectare this year against the established estimate of 6.50 lakh hectare." 

The Haryana government purchased 5.19 lakh tons of mustard from farmers who enrolled on the 'Meri Fasal, Mera Byora' site in 2019. Only 4.53 lakh tonnes of mustard seed was purchased on MSP by the government in 2020. 

However, because government entities would be unable to acquire the full crop, the unexpected rise in mustard acreage may pose an issue. 

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