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The Government has an ambitious objective of increasing groundnut production from the current level of 10.12 million tonnes (mt) to 14.15 mt by 2025-26, according to Shubha Thakur, Joint Secretary (Oilseeds) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation under the Union Ministry of Agriculture.

Speaking at a webinar on ‘Wondernut – Groundnut’, jointly organised by the Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India and IOPEPC (Indian Oilseed and Produce Export Promotion Council) on Saturday, she said in the last five years, the production of groundnut has increased from 8.03 mt to 10.12 mt in 2021, an increase of 26 per cent. The area under cultivation has increased from 4.88 million hectares (MH) to 6 mph, an increase of 23 per cent during the period. The average yield of the last five years was 1,646 kg per hectare, which is higher than mustard and soybean.

“We have an ambitious plan to increase the production targets from the current level to 14.15 mt in 2025-26, and the productivity to around 2,000 kg per hectare,” she said.

To achieve this, the main focus would be area expansion, increase in productivity through the high-yielding variety seeds, and also policy support for MSP and procurement. The area will be expanded in the rice fallow areas through inter-cropping and other measures. The productivity enhancement is being taken simultaneously with the ICAR to develop more varieties for different regions.

Stating that groundnut can be cultivated during all three seasons, she said the cultivation is being taken up in around 82 per cent of areas during Kharif season. It is also cultivated in the rice fallow areas in the rabi season.

Rabi thrust

Highlighting the productivity of the crop during the rabi season, she said the average productivity of groundnut is 2,081 kg per hectare. This is around 32 per cent higher than that of Kharif.

Tamil Nadu attained the highest productivity of groundnut at 3,742 kg per hectare during the rabi season. Terming it as a very encouraging sign, she said states such as Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat also showed good yield results. She said there is a lot of scopes to improve further on the yield.

“We want to focus more on rabi because there is more productivity, and we can use fallow lands for increasing the area,” she said.

Mini kits

The Government recently distributed 74,000 mini kits to farmers in seven focus states of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu for Kharif sowing, also some to Uttar Pradesh.

To increase the area for groundnut, many intercropping combinations with crops such as sesame, castor, cotton, pigeon pea, and sunflower have been taken up.

Each of the 20 agro-ecological regions in the country has unique characteristics that vary in climate, geology, soil type, and each of these regions behaves differently for different land uses. All these have been considered while distributing and allotting the mini kits to farmers, she said.

Apart from distributing seed mini kits, the Government has also identified 40 potential high-yielding districts in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh for seed distribution said. The Government chose these districts because they are suitable agro climatically for groundnut and produce more than 1.25 times the national average yield. The seeds have been given free of cost in these high potential districts, she added.

Speaking on occasion, Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary, Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, said the value-added products of groundnut would continue to have pressure on it. Unless sufficient quantity is available for oil extraction, its contribution to the edible oil sector will not grow as fast as the industry would like it to grow. In such a situation, an increase in the absolute production of groundnut is critically significant.

He said the private sector could play a very proactive role in developing the right kind of seeds, promoting those seeds and investing in agriculture infrastructure for cash crops like groundnut.

Current  Peanuts Prices for Bold 40-50 are $1,35/ kg and Java 50-60 1,45/ kg.

Source: Hindu Business

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