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AgriMin asks states to suggest ways to raise rabi crop sowing

Terming the gap a big challenge, Union Agriculture Minister said, ‘Despite the fact that cultivation of soyabean has changed the economic condition of farmers of states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, country has to import edible oil worth Rs 60,000 crore annually.’

The minister, while suggesting different pattern of sowing to increase oilseed production, said, ‘Cultivation of rapeseeds/mustard is more beneficial than wheat in rain fed areas in northeastern states like Assam, Chattisgarh, Eastern UP and Bihar where a large area remains unutilised after paddy crop. Similarly in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra crops of linseed and safflower can be cultivated after kharif sowing.’

Giving details about decreased sowing area, Singh said, ‘Sowing of oilseeds has registered a decrease of 20 lakh hectare as compared to last year. However, due to recent rains, hope of sowing coverage for oilseeds crops during rabi sowing has been raised.’

The minister, who chaired the first meeting of executive committee on National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOP) on Wednesday, informed that export of oilseeds constitutes largest component in agriculture sector. During 2012-13 foreign exchange worth Rs 23,681 crore was earned from export of oilseeds which stood at 63 lakh tonnes. This included 48.56 lakh tonnes of oil cakes, 9 lakh tonnes oilseeds and 6 lakh tonnes of oil. Singh further said said that soyabean constitutes more than 50 per cent of total exports.

Singh further said that in northern states like Haryana, Punjab, Western UP and Bihar there is good potential for sunflower crop after rabi sowing. During rabi crop area under cultivation of groundnut can be raised in states of Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The minister further added that oilseeds crops can be cultivated very easily as an inter crop. This will not only increase farmers’ income but also raise their socio-economic level and will lead to less dependence on import of edible oil.
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