ROURKELA: Even as paddy crop harvest is underway in Sundargarh district, the farmers have started preparation for mustard cultivation for the Rabi season as it promises high return with less investment and labour.
Deputy Director of Agriculture (DDA) RN Satpathy said mustard seed sowing for Rabi season is going on in many areas and about 10,200 hectares (ha) have been covered for the cultivation. About 260 ha have been taken under Government programme in which farmers are provided with seeds, bio-fertilizer and need-based pesticide. About 1,500 mini-kits have been provided to beneficiaries, he said.
Sources said above 6,000 farmers in the district are involved in mustard cultivation during the season with majority of the area having irrigation facilities. The m ost ideal time for mustard farming is October to November while the crops get ready for harvest in 100 to 120 days. Farmers with efficient field and crop management capabilities may end up getting yields of 8-10 quintals per ha at maximum production cost of around Rs 10,000 per ha including labour component.
Bijay Xalxo, a progressive farmer, said he has targeted to cultivate mustard on 40-45 acres and seed sowing has been completed on eight acres. This time, he is more focused and exuded confidence to harvest 12-15 tonnes. If everything goes on expected line, he would get Rs 4,500 per quintal, Xalxo added.
Panposh District Agriculture Officer (DAO) RK Mangal said with efficient management, a farmer can get four quintals from an acre at a maximum production cost of Rs 4,000. He said farmers in the district usually extract oil for personal use. They also have the option of selling oil after extraction which additionally ensures return of above Rs 1,500 against a quintal of byproducts. Farmers have also option to sell mustard seeds to oil mills and traders for Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,500 per quintal, Mangal added.
The DDA claimed that the district is most suitable for mustard crop with winter usually extending till February, but lamented that sunflower cultivation has been reduced for lack of marketing link, inadequate seeds and processing mills to extract oil.