India mustard crushing rises 29% on year to 550,000 tn in December


Mustard oil mills across the country crushed 550,000 tn of the oilseed in December, up 29.4% on year, according to data compiled by Mustard Oil Producers Association of India. On a month-on-month basis, crushing increased 22.2% from 450,000 tn in November.
Crushing was higher due to improved demand from oil millers and mustard meal exporters.  Reports that China has allowed imports of Indian mustard meal also boosted the purchases, an official with the association said.
Last month, China lifted the ban on mustard meal imports from India, which reinforced hopes that exports of the oilmeal would get a fillip in the near future, he said. China had imposed the ban in 2012, citing quality concerns.
Crushing could have been higher but mustard seed arrivals shrank with the start of the lean season, he said.
Mustard, a crucial rabi oilseed, is sown during Sep-Oct and harvested from February. New crop arrivals begin in February and gain momentum by March. Supply remains in full swing till May, and begins to shrink from June.
During Mar 1-Dec 31, total mustard seed supply was at 5.91 mln tn. Arrivals in Rajasthan, the top producer, were at 2.35 mln tn; 1.1 mln tn in Uttar Pradesh; and a combined 555,000 tn in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the official said.
Stocks with farmers, processors, stockists and state-run agencies were at 950,000 tn, he said.
As on Feb 28, carryover stock of the oilseed was estimated at 400,000 tn, the official said.
India's mustard output for 2017-18 (Jul-Jun) is seen at 7.1 mln tn, up from 6.9 mln tn the previous year, according to a revised estimate by the Central Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade and the Mustard Oil Producers Association of India.
The rise in output has been attributed to better yields in key growing areas because of favourable weather, an official with the Central Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade said.
Mustard accounts for 25% of the country's total oilseed production and about 80% of the rabi oilseed basket.
A higher minimum support price this year is expected to add more area under the oilseed this year, the official said. However, patchy rains in key growing areas of Rajasthan may prevent a sharp rise in acreage.
Mustard crop acreage across the country was at 6.58 mln ha as of Thursday, up 3.1% on year, according to farm ministry data. For the entire season, the acreage was higher than the five-year average of 6.13 mln ha.
The government has fixed the minimum support price for mustard at 4,200 rupees per 100 kg in 2018-19 against 4,000 rupees the previous year.

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