In the last couple of years there has been a significant gap in the demand and supply of vegetable oil in India. In fact in 2012 it had been estimated to be at 10 million tons and it was assumed that as years went by the situation would only become much worse. It was estimated that India was going to need 25 million tons in vegetable oil by 2020. This meant that the deficit could only be bridged through import, which would inevitably lead to increasing import bills for the country in the end. At the present stage it has been estimated that India may need to import 17-18 million tons by 2020. This is where an agriculturally advanced state like Haryana could help by focusing its energies on cultivating mustard instead of just wheat and rice.
Mustard bears a significant amount of oil as much as 40% - and this is why the state government needs to encourage its production. It is grown primarily in the Rabi season and growing it could mean that lesser acres are devoted to the cultivation of wheat, which is the main crop in the state. However, such a situation could be hard to achieve considering the fact that wheat is the main crop of the state as well as an integral part of the staple diet of a large cross-section of people.
The experts feel that there are certain steps, which if followed, would ensure that Haryana would become a force to reckon with in this domain. To start with, the government has to provide decent enough incentives for entities that set up and successfully operate mustard processing facilities that are at par with global standards. This would also mean encouraging entrepreneurs. Till date the government has only shown interest in encouraging established bodies to come and do business in the state. Now that cordiality needs to be extended to the willing businessmen as well.
However, this is not where the role of the government comes to an end. It should also, in the years upfront, provide marketing and related support. This would make sure that the farmers get a sufficient amount of returns from their efforts and investment. This will also encourage them to put in the hard yards in the next few years and keep pushing. The state also needs to provide crop insurance to the farmers who are cultivating mustard.
The major reason for that is the drought prone nature of the state. The water table in Punjab has gone down in the last couple of years, thanks to rice cultivation, and one wonders if a similar situation may have already taken place in Haryana as well. So this is where factors like crop insurance could really come in handy. All that the farmers need is proper support from the policymakers and powers-that-be and they sure will produce wonderful results. Mustard production will also be important from a national perspective as with proper production the country will need to import less vegetable oil and this will only be good for all in the long run.