MUMBAI, (GNI): : In a major breakthrough in Castor farming, The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) has demonstrated that productivity can be increased upto 100% by little change in techniques and seed quality. SEA has done an exhaustive study by comparing productivity in across 200 Model Castor Farms in the last 2 years, when compared to control farms using traditional methods across six districts of Gujarat viz. Banaskantha, Patan, Sabarkantha, Aarvalli, Junagadh and Kutchh. The results of the independent evaluation study were released today.
As a result of SEA’s intervention through Model Castor Farm project, the productivity of castor seeds through model farms, as compared to non-model farms, has showed an increase of 80% to 100% over other farms. The number of pickings among Model Castor Project farmers was 40.74% higher than that of the non-model farmers. The size and number of clusters in the Model Castor Farms were bigger and longer respectively, than the clusters in the non-model farms. The GCH-7 variety seeds of Sardarkrushinagar
Dantiwada Agricultural University has given superior results, in terms of better growth of plants, resistance to diseases and higher productivity. The organic inputs, better farm practices such as spacing, watering technique, inter cropping, wind and sun use under the Model Castor Farm project, other than certified seeds resulted in overall improvement in yield.
The continuous technical guidance and inputs free of cost provided by SEA under the Model Castor Farm project, stands out as the most important aspect in this project.
Speaking about the recommendations based on the project, Atul Chaturvedi, President of The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India said, “There are many takeaways out of this project. It’s important that the project need to be up-scaled in existing as well as newer districts. This intervention is in the line with PM’s call for doubling farmers income and toalso sustain farmers interest in Castor cultivation. Even though SEA is not flush with funds, we have utilized available resources to show the way forward and are prepared to take up similar projects in other oil seeds as well.” He further added “We are also advising farmers on intercropping Castor with leguminous plants to maintain better soil health and fertility. This would help in nitrogen-fixation in the soil to lead to higher productivity of Castor seed as well as additional income from the inter crop for the farmer.”
Briefing further about model farms, Haresh Vyas, the head of Castor Model Farms Project at SEA mentioned that, “It can be easily replicated at all Castor growing regions in India.
This is second year of the project. In both the years, model farms productivity has increased and doubled. This year, against Gujarat average productivity of 2066 kgs., in most of the model farms the production realized is between 3500 kgs. to 6000 kgs. This surely will arrest the dwindling interest among Castor in India. At SEA, our aim is to help farmers get higher return per hectare through better productivity and not only by way of price.” He added “for the current year, SEA plans to establish additional upto 200 Model
Castor Farms across major Castor growing states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Telangana, and is in discussion with stake holders and the Government for financial support.”
While on the subject, Abhay Udeshi, Chairman, SEA Castorseed & Oil Promotion Council, appreciated thatcurrently India is exporting about Rs.8000 crores worth of castor oil and it’s derivatives. The demand for Castor oil & derivatives is rising year on year. Scaling up this program across castor growing and other regions would result in valuable exports and increased income for the farmers. Appropriate support from Government agencies is needed to increase productivity/production for India to meet the growing world demand and maintain it’s position as world leader. Ends