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Coriander, cumin traders in Rajasthan in a fix over prices 

MP Jain  
JAIPUR, FEBRUARY 27: Traders of coriander and cumin in Rajasthan, the largest producer of these two cash crops in the country, are sitting with their fingers crossed with regard to the future price behaviour as the market reports are of somewhat lower production this year.

In these crops, the forward trading has not been much this time around compared to the position last year when the purchases were heavy.

``Much will depend on the actual production figures, but the present trend shows that it will be lower compared to last year in the case of both the crops'', says a leading trader based in Ramganjmandi. The latter is the biggest mandi in the country in coriander.

Market arrivals of coriander should begin from late next month and Ramganjmandi is getting ready to receive lakhs of bags per day. The entire country gets coriander from Rajasthan (Ramganjmandi). Grounding is done mostly in South.

The prevailing market price of good variety of coriander is ranging between Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,600 per tonne.``We expect the price to register a fall when the peak arrivals take place,'' says the trader. Of late the quality of coriander in the growing districts of Kotah, Jhalawar, Baran and Bundi, has not been very good. Due to rains last year, the colouring of the grains had fetched less prices to the growers. This year the rains occurred for a day only the other day, but not much of the damage has been caused.

rom Ramganjmandi, coriander is even exported to European and Arabian countries and the price fetched is good. ``We are increasing our share in the export market but it largely depends on how the government looks at it,'' the exporting traders point out. In the coming central budget on February 29 the finance minister Yashwant Sinha should give some sops to the exporters of these commodities so that the foreign exchange earnings could be substantial.

Traditionally, the crop is grown in the Kotah region of Rajasthan, bordering Madhya Pradesh. There is no special reason for the large-scale sowings. Thetotal sowings this year have covered about 1.80 lakh hectares as against the target of 1.92 lakh hectares.

Last year coriander had covered a total area of 1.98 lakh hectares and the production was 1.80 lakh tonnes, says a senior official of the agriculture department. The yields are low and the department has taken special steps to see that the farmers get more. The department has ensured the distribution of good variety of seeds to the growers. New varieties of seeds are also being developed by the agriculture university.

Cumin is mostly grown in the western region of Rajasthan comprising the districts of Barmer, Jalore, Sirohi, Jodhpur etc. Last year cumin had covered a total area of 1.48 lakh hectares producing 56,000 tonnes. ``Our yields are on the lower side'' admits the official.

In the case of cumin also, the traders expect the large volatility in the price due to lower production this year. The current price is due to lower production this year. The current price of cumin ranges between Rs 5,000to Rs 6,000 per tonne.

The target for the current year is put at 1.40 lakh hectares and the officials expect the same to be met. Rajasthan is again the leading producer of cumin in the country.

Methi is yet another cash crop produced in Rajasthan but the farmers are hardly interested in increasing its area. This is due to low productivity and lesser price being fetched by them.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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