Friday, December 1, 2023

Mustard Model Farm Project in the key role in making India Self-reliant on Oilseed production

With the vision to increasing Rapeseed-Mustard production by 200 lakh tons by the year 2025 and making India self-reliant in oilseed production, “Mustard Model Farm Project” is being implemented by the apex edible oil industry body “The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India” together with Solidaridad Organisation. The outcomes of “Mustard Model Farm Project” are well reflected in the form of Rapeseed-Mustard production received this year, which is estimated to be increased per hectarein the area where the project is being implemented. Under the project, more than 2100Mustard Model Farms have been developed so far covering more than 73500 mustard farmers in the State Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab. Awidespread scientific practices and improved technologies are adopted by farmers in these regions under the aegis of the Mustard Project are the major factors in augmented production.

India has emerged as the largest importer of edible oils in the world. The domestic consumption of edible oils has touched the level of about 240 lakh tons, which is likely
to increase further with growing population and per capita income. Currently, India produces around 100 lakh tons of edible oil. The gap between demand and supply of edible oils is about 140 Lakh Tonnes and is met through imports. The nation’s 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 productivity of oilseeds crops including important crops i.e. mustard. In India, Rapeseed and Mustard accounts for nearly one third of edible oil produced through primary sources making it country’s key edible oilseed crop. It is one the most promising oilseed crop for reducing dependence on edible oil imports. Besides this, the crop offers higher returns with low cost of production and less water requirement for irrigation.

Under the Mustard Mission initiated by The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India and Solidaridad, mustard model farms are developed wherein key support is given in field preparations, seed preparations, sowing management, nutrient management, fertilizer, plant growth management, scheduling irrigation and harvesting etc. to the farmers. 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.

The project was incepted in 2020-21 with 400 model farms in 5 Districts of Rajasthan only. In 2021-22, project has been expanded to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh with 500 more model farms. In 2022-23, 1234 model farms are developed and along with Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh project has been expanded to Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) and Sangrur (Punjab) with the support of J.R Agro Industries and Ricela Foundation, Dhuri. Thus, more than 2100 model farms have been setup so far in 04 States.

Apart from the techno-economic inputs, under the project farmers are also facilitated with trainings and capacity building though its unique Farmer’s Field school (FFS) in each of the blocks. These FFS act as a strong community institution where farmers share their learnings with each other. It is expected that the improved knowledge of farmers and adoption of set of proven technologies and good practices as well as access to quality inputs and markets would increase the yield and income significantly while ensuring better environmental performance.

Further, introduction of the digital application-based supported farmers on good practices, which includes ICT led extension and advisory systems to ensure better access to appropriate and real-time information tailored to the need of farmers. The tools/mobile applications would also provide benchmarking and tracking the impact of good practices and improved technologies on farm production and income as well as environmental performances of practices adopted by farmers.

The successful implementation and positive outcomes from this project will provide us proof of concepts and set of best practices for country- wide expansion of this initiative towards achieving the ambitious target of increasing production of rapeseed-mustard by 200 lakh tons by 2025. Additionally, the objective is also to shift the area to Mustard particularly in Punjab and Haryana by demonstrating the financial viability of Mustard over conventional crop like rice, wheat and sugarcane. This will enhance the contribution of sector in Indian economy, food security, well-being of farmers as well as employment creation, Said, Mr Ajay Jhunjhunwala, President, SEA

“The outcomes of the Mustard Model Farm project are overwhelming. The growth in mustard production in last 03 years is a good indication towards making India self-reliant on edible oil production. The joint efforts made by Solidaridad together with SEA, would allow farmers’ access to cutting-edge technologies and agronomic practices to overcome production constraints as well as access to better infrastructure facilities and profitable markets.” Said, Dr. Shatadru Chattopadhyay, Managing Director, Solidaridad Asia.

“Mustard is the most promising oilseed crop for increasing the domestic edible oil production and to make India self-reliant in edible oil while enhancing income and livelihood of farmers. We are confident that Mustard Model Farm project would significantly advance the existing practices and contribute towards income and livelihood of farmers, increase edible oil pool to attain the self-sufficiency and foster the growth of domestic edible oil industries said, Mr. Vijay Data, Chairman of SEA Rape-Mustard Promotion Council.

“There are enormous opportunities for improvement in production and productivity of oilseeds crops and thus, improving the lives of the farming family dependent on agriculture and allied activities. Our experiences in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab show that with the help of modern technology, the productivity of mustard crop can be increased phenomenally. We appreciate the technical knowledge support provided by the Directorate of Rapeseed – Mustard Research Centre Bharatpur Government of India for mustard model farms and we look forward for continued cooperation and support from the institute. We remain committed to work together for the large-scale expansion of such initiative. Said in a quote, Dr. Suresh Motwani, General Manager of Solidaridad Network Asia”

“The outcomes of this project have inspired us to do more work in this area. Rape seed and Mustard are one the most promising oilseed crops for reducing dependence on edible oil imports. It is the high time to support oilseed growers through the efficient extension support for bridging the awareness gap among farmers regarding better techniques, coupled with access to quality inputs, seeds and markets towards increasing the domestic availability of edible oil and improving the livelihood of farmers. The effort made through the mustard model farm project will significantly contribute towards the Government of India’s vision towards attaining the self-sufficiency in edible oil and doubling the income of farmers through advancement in existing practices, mechanisms and processes” said Dr. B.V. Mehta, Executive Director of The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India.

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