Updated March 22nd, 2024 at 13:04 IST

Mustard seed prices fall below MSP, edible oil industry body knocks government's door

SEA stressed the need for immediate government action, urging authorities to direct the NAFED to establish procurement centers in major mandi areas.

Reported by: Business Desk
Mustard seed prices | Image:Unsplash
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Mustard seed prices: The Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) has raised alarm as wholesale prices of mustard seeds in India dip below the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 5,650 per quintal. This development has prompted urgent calls for government intervention to stabilise the market and safeguard the welfare of farmers.

Call for government action

SEA President Ajay Jhunjhunwala emphasised the need for immediate government action, urging authorities to direct the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) to establish procurement centers in major mandi areas. These centres would facilitate the purchase of mustard seeds at MSP, providing crucial support to farmers amid declining market prices.

Challenges amid harvesting season

The concern over mustard seed prices is particularly significant during the ongoing harvesting season. Despite reaching record acreage of 100 lakh hectares this season, mustard cultivation faces stagnation due to the discrepancy between market prices and MSP.

Addressing agricultural growth

Jhunjhunwala highlighted the importance of addressing the disparity between past remunerative prices and current market rates to incentivise farmers to expand mustard cultivation. Sustaining agricultural growth and ensuring farmer prosperity hinge on resolving this issue effectively.

Reevaluation of edible oil pricing

SEA also pointed out discrepancies in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for edible oils, which fail to accurately reflect evolving consumption patterns. The association has petitioned the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution to reconsider weightage allocation in the WPI to better align with changing consumption dynamics.

Rising import dependency

Import dependency for edible oils continues to escalate annually, with imports reaching 165 lakh tonnes valued at Rs 1.4 lakh crore last year. While imports are essential to bridge demand-supply gaps, excessive imports have resulted in surplus inventory, posing challenges to both the government and the industry.

Striking balance

SEA stressed the importance of striking a balance between domestic production and imports to ensure food security and economic stability. Addressing import dependency while supporting domestic production is crucial for sustaining the edible oil industry's growth and mitigating market uncertainties.

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Published March 22nd, 2024 at 13:04 IST