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Mustard oil demand slides over coronavirus fear

Bright prospects for a better crop for rabi 2019-20 and increasing apprehensions regarding the weaker demand amidst coronavirus crisis have made mustard farmers as well as traders jittery. Due to these reasons, the prices have tumbled below the Minimum Support Price (MSP) at Rs 4,425 per quintal even before new arrivals hit the markets in bulk. As per the sources, prices have fallen sharply in the past one month. This is because of the reduced demand and higher crop prospects. There are fears that prices may fall further once the arrivals of new crop increase in a few days from now. However, the crop is estimated to have suffered some damage from the recent spell of unseasonal rains and hailstorm in parts of Rajasthan. As per a recent crop survey jointly conducted by Mustard Oil Producers’ Association (MOPA) and Central Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade (COOIT) across all mustard and rapeseed growing regions, the crop for the year 2019-20 is likely to be about 76 lakh tonnes, which is about a lakh tonne more than last year’s 75 lakh tonnes. The acreage, has, however, marginally gone down from 69.79 lakh hectares across the country last year to 69.51 lakh hectares this year. MOPA-COOIT estimates have indicated an increase in production in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, while it has projected a dip in Madhya Pradesh and same crop size in Rajasthan and Gujarat.