Nagpur, Dec 17 (UNI) The Mumbai-based Jayant Oils and Derivatives Limited (JODL) plans to bring a total of five lakh acres under contract farming for castor over the next five years in Maharashtra.
Speaking to reporters here today, JODL President (Sales and Marketing) Anupam Shukla said that the area would include about 1.5 lakh acres each in Vidarbha and Marathwada, and the balance in the rest of Maharashtra. Under its contract farming agreement (CFA), JODL provided free seeds and technical support to farmers, and bought their entire yield at an assured rate, he said.
The rate for castor for the current season was Rs 12 per kilogram, Shukla said. An average yield of 600 kilograms per acre for rain-fed land would give the farmer an additional income of Rs 4,700 per season, whereas an average yield of 1,500 kilograms per acre for irrigated land would give help him earn Rs 13,200 per season, he added.
''Castor is a commercially viable crop that thrives in arid and semi-arid conditions, and can help farmers overcome their financial distress by generating additional income,'' said Shukla.
The company was, therefore, holding a farmers' rally at Akot in Akola district of Vidarbha to create awareness about the benefits of contract farming in castor, he said, adding that farmers from 56 tehsils from the six districts of Vidarbha were affected the most by suicides were expected to attend.
At present, Gujarat accounted for 72 per cent of castor production in the country. Once JODL implemented its plans to boost contract farming in Maharashtra, it would account for more than 50 per cent of the castor production in the country, with Gujarat's share expected to decrease to less than 50 per cent, he said.
JODL was the world's largest manufacturer of castor oil and derivatives, accounting for 75 per cent of the 4.50 lakh tonnes per annum produced globally. The company had a turnover of Rs 800 crore, and exported its products to more than 50 countries, including Europe, China and the United States, he added.