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Rabi oilseeds output set to recover

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, Jan. 18

OUTPUT of rabi oilseeds is set to stage a modest recovery this year, according to the Delhi-based VMA Oilseeds Research and Development Institute (VORDI).

VORDI has said a total area of 74.31 lakh hectares has been sown under various rabi oilseeds up to the first week of January this year, which is higher than the previous season's corresponding coverage of 68.45 lakh hectares during the previous season.

The progressive area sown under rapeseed-mustard has been estimated at 51.30 lakh hectares, as against last year's corresponding figure of 46.34 lakh hectares. Similarly, the progressive area under rabi sunflower has gone up from 5.55 lakh hectares to 8.55 lakh hectares, while being higher at 4.17 lakh hectares (3.99 lakh hectares) for safflower. The acreages, as on the first week of January, have, however, been lower for rabi groundnut (3.24 lakh hectares versus 4.48 lakh hectares), linseed (6.31 lakh hectares versus 6.46 lakh hectares) and sesamum (0.74 lakh hectares versus 1.63 lakh hectares).

The normal area under rabi oilseeds is 102.70 lakh hectares, comprising 65.46 lakh hectares for rapeseed-mustard, 11.87 lakh hectares for groundnut, 10.32 lakh hectares for sunflower, 7.50 lakh hectares for linseed, 5.01 lakh hectares for safflower and 2.48 lakh hectares for sesamum.

The total area coverage has so far touched around 72 per cent of the normal area.

Sowing of rabi summer groundnut is still under progress in Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, while it will commence in Maharashtra and Gujarat later this month.

Similarly, sowing of rabi sunflower has not started in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the north-east and sowing of sesamum is still in progress in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa and yet to commence in West Bengal.

Only in the case of rapeseed-mustard and safflower has sowing been more-or-less completed. While rapeseed-mustard coverage has been about five lakh hectares higher this time, the overall acreage is still around 14 lakh hectares lower than the normal area.

``Based on present condition of the crop, the production of rapeseed-mustard this year will be 42 lakh tonnes, which may be enhanced further if there are good rains now, when the crop is attaining flowering and pod formation stage'', VORDI has said.

The estimated rapeseed-mustard production of 42 lakh tonnes for 2001-02 would be higher than the previous year's 13-year-low level of 40.9 lakh tonnes, but much below the all-time high of 66.6 lakh tonnes achieved in 1996-97.

By current reckoning, it appears that total rabi oilseeds production this year would be in the 75-80 lakh tonne range, which along with the estimated kharif output of 123 lakh tonnes takes the total production of oilseeds during 2001-02 to about 20 million tonnes.

This is again higher than last year's disastrous crop of 18.20 million tonnes, though way below the 1998-99 record level of 24.75 million tonnes.

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