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Poor Produce, Less MSP Impact Haryana Mustard Farmers

Private players are procuring mustard below the MSP of Rs 5,450 per quintal with the state government yet to start procurement.
Mustard Farmers

Image Courtesy: Hippopx

Private players are procuring mustard from Haryana farmers below the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 5,450 per quintal with the state government yet to start procurement.

Private players are procuring mustard between Rs 4,600 and Rs 5,000 per quintal after offering a handsome price in the last two years, The Tribune reported.

Disappointed farmers have asked the government to start buying mustard at the earliest. State agriculture minister JP Dalal announced in Bhiwani on Sunday that procurement would start on March 28.

“During the off-season in 2021, I sold mustard at Rs 8,000 per quintal. This season has been bad,” Ajay Kumar, of Khera village (Indri block) told the newspaper. In 2022, private players procured mustard for Rs 6,000-Rs 6,600 per quintal by private purchasers while in 2021, it was purchased for Rs 5,000- Rs 5,500 per quintal, he added.

Another farmer, Nawab Singh, said, “The MSP of mustard is Rs 5,450 per quintal, but it is being procured between Rs 4,600 and Rs 5,000 per quintal, which is a loss to the farming community. The procurement prices are coming down with each passing day.”

Farmer Jai Singh said that they are “being forced to sell their produce at throwaway prices by the private players as the government is yet to start procurement”.

Mustard is sown on 6.50 lakh hectares in Haryana, especially in Hisar, Bhiwani, Rewari, Mahendragarh and Rohtak. Despite the official production target of 13.65 lakh tonnes, the average yield has drastically fallen due to freezing cold and ground frost during the peak winter season in January.

A preliminary report by the Mahendragarh office of the Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department revealed in January that 90% of the crop in the district was damaged by severe cold and frost with Kanina, Nangal Choudhary and Mahendragarh the worst affected, according to The Tribune.

“Mustard has been sown over 95,000 hectares in the district this season and the crop loss due to frost has been reported in 87,000 hectares. Losses up to 25% have been found in 64,000 hectares and the damage is between 26%-50% in 7,000 hectares while 6,000 hectares have suffered a loss of more than 50%,” Balwant Shaharan, deputy director (agriculture), Narnaul, said.

According to agriculture experts, frost harms mustard at the flowering stage and causes further damage.

Hoshiyar Singh, from Kirtan village (Balsamand region), which recorded sub-zero temperatures in January, got only one quintal from three acres compared to about seven to nine quintals per acre earlier. “This year, the yield has been poor,” he said.

Dr Ram Avtar, a mustard breeder scientist at Chaudhary Charan Singh Agriculture University, said that a survey had expected a fall in the per acre yield this season. “The crop sown on unirrigated land adjoining Rajasthan in Hisar, Bhiwani, Mahendragarh and Rewari districts is the worst hit,” he said.

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