The Mustard Model Farm Project: Pioneering SelfReliance in India's Oilseed Production

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17 Apr, 24 10:20
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The Mustard Model Farm Project: Pioneering SelfReliance in India's Oilseed Production

Udaipur: The Mustard ModelFarmProject,launched collectively by The Solvent Extractors’AssociationofIndia (SEA)andSolidaridadin2020- 21, continues its commitment toincreaseRapeseed-Mustard production in India. So far, more than 3500 model farms havebeensetupundertheprogramme covering more than 125,000 farmers in 5 States. As a result of these concerted efforts coupled with favorableweatherandpriceofmustardseed,Indiahaswitnessed aremarkableincreaseinmustardproductionyearafter year, around8.6milliontonsin2020- 21, 11.00 million tons in 2021- 22 and 11.35 million tons in 2022-23 mustard production recorded.Also there has been expansion in cultivation areas annually as in 2020-21 it was 6.70 million hectares and it reached 8.80 million hectares in 2022-23. The production of mustard seed is likely to touch an all-time high of 12.0 million tons in 2023-24 season with sown in record 10.0 million hectares areaboostingdomestic supplies of edible oils. The Mustard Model Farm 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)andSangrur(Punjab) andin2023-24,Varanasi(Uttar Pradesh) and Karnataka are newly added in the list. Thus, more than 3500 model farms have been setup so far in 5 States. India has emerged as the largest importer of edible oils in the world. The present rate of edible oil consumption in India surpasses the domestic production rate. Hence, the country has to rely on imports to meet the gap between demandandsupply.Atpresent, India meets nearly 60% of its edible oil demand through imports. As per SEA latest dataduring2022-23(Nov-Oct) India imported 16.47 million tonsofedibleoils valuedatRs. 1.38lakhcores (US$16.65billion). It emphasizes the need for self-sufficiency in edible oil production to mitigate this impact. The nation’s dependency on imported edible oil is a matter of concern and to address this challenge, India needs to critically look intothewaysand means to increase productivity of oilseeds crops including important crops i.e. mustard. In India, Rapeseed and Mustard accounts for nearly onethirdofedibleoilproduced throughprimary sourcesmaking 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 waterrequirementforirrigation and also contribute export earning of about Rs. 5000 croresbyexporting22.00lakh MT of Rapeseed Meal during 2023-24(Apr-Mar). The Mustard Model farms hasbeenimplementedvarious strategies and interventions to achieve this target, focusing primarily on enhancing mustard yield through innovative farming practices, advanced technology adoption, and comprehensive farmer support programmes. Through the dissemination of best agricultural practices, access to high-quality seeds, modern farming equipment, and expert guidance, the project aims to empower farmers to optimize their productivity and yield potential. Apartfromthetechno-economic inputs, under the project farmers are also facilitated with trainings and capacity building though its unique Farmer’sFieldschool(FFS)in eachoftheblocks.TheseFFS act as a strong community institutionwherefarmersshare theirlearningswitheachother. Itisexpectedthattheimproved 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 informationtailoredtotheneed of farmers. The tools/mobile applicationswouldalsoprovidebenchmarking and tracking the impact of good practices and improvedtechnologiesonfarm productionandincomeaswell as environmental performances of practices adopted by farmers.

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