India mustard crushing rises 33% on year to 500,000 tn in February


Mustard oil mills across the country crushed 500,000 tn of the oilseed in February, up 33.3% on year, according to data compiled by the Mustard Oil Producers Association of India.

Higher arrival of the mustard crop grown in 2018-19 (Jul-Jun) and upbeat demand from mustard meal exporters boosted crushing operations, an official with the association said.

Crushing of the oilseed is 25% higher on month.

Estimates of a bigger crop this year and the peak arrival season may ramp up crushing in the coming months, traders 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.

Around 200,000 tn of new mustard crop had hit the market in February along with 60,000 tn of old crop, it said.

During Mar-Feb, total mustard seed supply was at 7.05 mln tn. Arrivals in Rajasthan, the top producer, were at 2.55 mln tn. It was at 1.25 mln tn in Uttar Pradesh and a combined 825,000 tn in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the official said.

Stocks with farmers, processors, stockists and state-run agencies were at 200,000 tn as on Feb 28, he said.

The association has estimated mustard crop in the country at 8.1 mln tn in 2018-19 (Jul-Jun) compared with around 7.1 mln tn pegged last year. It is, however, lower than the farm ministry's second advance estimate of 8.4 mln tn in 2018-19, against 8.3 mln tn mustard crop pegged last year.

Mustard crop is seen large this year due to higher acreage,  the official said. Higher minimum support price and better realisations prompted farmers to add more area under the crop. Acreage across the country was at 6.58 mln ha as of Thursday, up 3.1% on year, according to the farm ministry.

The government has fixed the minimum support price for mustard at 4,200 rupees per 100 kg in 2018-19 against 4,000 rupees in the previous year.

Mustard accounts for 25% of the country's total oilseed production and about 80% of the rabi oilseed basket.

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