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Mustard traders seek stock limit withdrawal

India imports about 55% of its total domestic requirement of edible oil.

The peak arrivals months for Mustard is during March 15 to April 30

Even as farmers have started to bring their produce to the country’s biggest mustard mandi here, traders are unable to buy the produce due to the stock holding limits on oil seeds and edible oils. The limits, imposed in October last year, is to be in force till June 30 this year.

Traders, arthias (commission agents) and processors in this hub of processing of mustard oil, which contributes more than 39% to India’s domestic edible oil consumption, have asked the government to lift stock limits immediately so that farmers’ produce could procured at the earliest.

“The stock holding limit of 1,500 per quintal for each commission agent imposed by Rajasthan government is unrealistic especially since the peak arrival season is about to commence,” Shankar Lal Agarwal, president, Vyapar Mandal Samiti, Nai Mandi, Bharatpur, told FE. The dedicated market yard which currently witnessing an arrival of around 6,000 quintal of mustard by farmers daily, which is likely to cross 10,000 quintal in the coming few days.

The peak arrivals months for Mustard is during March 15 to April 30, where around 60% of produce arrive in the market yard. Bharatpur which has around 300 mustard oil processors, are apprehensive about meeting buffer stock norms imposed by the government to curb rise in prices.

“The government must remove the stock holding limits so that farmers’ produce could be purchased by traders at the earliest,” Krishan Kumar Agarwal, president, Bharatpur Oil Miller’s Association, said

In February, 2022, the government had extended stock holding limits for edible oils and oilseeds till June 30, 2022 while specifying the quantity of stocks retailers, wholesalers and processors can hold.

For edible oilseeds, the stock limit is 100 quintals for retailers, 2000 quintals for wholesalers. Processors of edible oilseeds would be able to stock 90 days production of edible oils as per daily input production capacity.

In October 2021, the government had imposed stock holding limits on edible oils and oilseeds till March 31, 2022. However, the quantities of stock limits of edible oils and oilseeds were left to the state and Union territories to decide on the basis of their respective consumption pattern. Subsequently, six states — Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Bihar — had imposed the stock holding limits. Officials said that the stock holding limit was aimed at ensuring that retails prices do not witness a spike.

According to ministry of agriculture, in the rabi sowing season (2021-22), oilseeds such as mustard, groundnut and sunflower was planted in 101 lakh hectares (lh), which was 22% more than previous years.

Out of these thee sowing of mustard increased by 24% to 91 lh compared to close to 73 lh reported a year ago.

India imports about 55% of its total domestic requirement of edible oil. India mainly produces groundnut, mustard, coconut and soyabean varieties of edible oil.

Out of 45% domestic edible oil consumption, mustard has a highest share of 39% followed by soyabean (24%), groundnut (7%). In terms of area of cultivation of mustard: Rajasthan has 45%, Uttar Pradesh (12%), Madhya Pradesh (12%) and Haryana (9%).

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