Good news is in store for Castor farmers in Gujarat and adjoining areas. As per the research conducted by the Solvent Extractots’ Association of India, farmers can now cultivate castor seed on a reduced area and yet get higher yield. This can be done by following the new cropping pattern and the use of GCH7, a new hybrid variety of castor seed, provided by the Dantiwada Agriculture University.
The pilot project has been conducted in the two districts of Gujarat i.e. in Banaskantha and Aravalli. The primary object of the study was to reduce the use of fertilizers, pesticides and water along with cutting costs while raising the yield by changing the cropping pattern.
In last 10 years, input costs have risen around 50-60%, mostly on fertilizers, pesticides and water. With the help of above techniques, input costs of castor cultivation may come down by 25-30% with an equal rise in yields in the initial two harvests.
According to farmers, the castor cultivation cost usually is around ₹18,000 per bigha (or ₹45,000 per acre). According to the current yield of around 8-14 quintal per bigha, they end up making anywhere between ₹27,200 and ₹47,000 per bigha at an average price of around ₹3,400 per quintal.
India has around 11.50 lakh hectares of land under castor seed cultivation and there has been a decline of 24% in area during the year 2016-17 as compared to the previous year. India is the market leader in production and supply of castor seed and castor oil in the world. However, high input cost has forced farmers to reduce area under castor seed farming in last couple of years.
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