Mustard cultivation is a farming venture that is being taken up aggressively in the North East. It is a crop that finds its way to every kitchen, one way or the other.
Some of the mustard varieties in India
comprise of rapeseed, Indian mustard, black mustard, etc. The yellow ‘sarson’ is pretty common and it is not just the mustard seeds that are utilized but this crop has a variety of other uses too. Oilseed crops play a very important role in the Indian Agricultural Economy, next only to food
- Mustard is a major Rabi (winter) crop and can be easily cultivated with low irrigation requirement and costs of production are low as well.
- It is slowly gaining popularity amongst the North East farmers owing to its adaptability for both irrigated and rain-fed areas.
- It is also suitable for mixed cropping.
- The zero tillage concept is mainly used without disrupting the soil for moisture and to conserve water which works in favour of this winter crop as the soil retains the moisture from the monsoon.
- Scientists are developing high yielding varieties of mustard, especially for North East areas.
- Implementation of the program “Cluster Frontline Demonstration under National Mission on Oilseed and Oil palm” by the Government is bringing a revolution in mustard cultivation. Considered as one of the untraditional areas for mustard cultivation, NE has come a long way since the implementation of the program.
- Many rural tribal households make use of all the parts including the leaves that form a staple part of the diet and the flowers that are also edible.
- It is used to make dye for traditional cloth, used in certain traditional customs and the most common use is to make oil.
- Certain diseases have a capacity to destroy the yield from 10% up to 75%. Genetically superior seeds are planted to deal with this issue.
- Pests such as saw-fly and hairy caterpillar are a known enemy of this crop. To deal with this menace, time of planting the seeds is important.
- Insects such as lady-bird beetle are known to damage this crop. Fertilizer use helps in this case.
There is plenty of scope for mustard cultivation in the North East. Whenever a report is drawn in this regard, the states of North East India such as Assam & Manipur do feature in them. However, we are still a long way from use of the opportunity in this regard. There is a very bright future for farmers in this field and they can reap wonderful profits.