Traders: Low import duty on vegetable oil hurting domestic mustard market

By Deepender Deswal

A report of the Haryana State Agriculture Marketing Board (HSAMB) stated that mustard was being sold below the MSP for Rs 4,290 to Rs 5,400 per quintal. The MSP was fixed at Rs 5,450 per quintal by the Centre.

The mustard arrivals in mandis were 25% less than last year. The HSAMB report indicated that mustard farmers in the Dabwali mandi of Sirsa are fetching the lowest price, ranging between Rs 4,290 and Rs 5,295 per quintal. Farmers in Hisar are also getting a minimum of Rs 4,300 per quintal and a maximum of Rs 5,401 per quintal.

The report revealed that about 1.51 lakh quintal of mustard had arrived in grain markets across the state from February 1 till March 8 this year. Meanwhile, the arrivals were 2.02 lakh quintal in the corresponding period last year.

The government has fixed a target of 52.77 lakh quintal of mustard arrival by June-end this year, which is about 20 lakh quintal more than last year (31.90 lakh quintal).

HSAMB officials said the purchases were being done by private players as the state or central agencies had not yet started the purchase. Farmers are asking the government to start the purchase of mustard as early sown variety was harvested well ahead of the normal time of harvesting.

The traders said the Centre’s policy of low import duty on vegetable oil was one of the factors for the fall in the mustard prices. Besides, they are also avoiding the open auctions of the mustard produce brought by farmers in mandis to keep the prices in control. The traders are deliberately not participating in the auction as it leads to competitive prices and compel farmers to sell mustard below the MSP.

Pawan Garg, ex-chief of the grain market association in Hisar, said HAFED would start participating in the auction soon. “Farmers should withhold the mustard produce for some days at their godowns and wait for the prices to rise. Lesser arrivals are a result of low prices in the open market,” he added.

This article has been republished from The Tribune.