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Oilseeds Scenario in India

Oilseeds Scenario in India

 oilsed: Sunflower

India is amongst the largest producer and consumer of vegetable oils in the World. Oilseeds have been the backbone of agricultural economy of India since long. Indian vegetable oil economy is the fourth largest in the world next to USA, China and Brazil. Oilseed crops play the second important role in the Indian agricultural economy next to food grains in terms of area and production. The Indian climate is suitable for the cultivation of oilseed crops; therefore, large varieties of oilseeds are cultivated here. The major oilseeds cultivated in our country are Groundnut, Rapeseed and Mustard, Castor seed, Sesamum, Nigerseed, Linseed, Safflower, Sunflower and Soybean. However, Groundnut, Rapeseed/Mustard, Soybean and Sunflower account for a major chunk of the output. At present, more than 27 million hectares of land is under oilseeds cultivation. The area under oilseeds has been increasing over time and the production has registered many fold increase but its productivity is still low as compared to other oilseed producing countries in the world. The low and fluctuating productivity is primarily because cultivation of oilseed crops is mostly done on marginal lands, which are lacking in irrigation and low levels of inputs are used here. To improve the situation of oilseeds in the country, government of India has been pursuing several development programs. They are Oilseed Growers Cooperative Project, National Oilseed and Development Project, Technology Mission Oilseeds (TMO) and Integrated Scheme of Oilseeds, Pulses, Oil Plam and Maize. The concerted efforts of these development programs/schemes register significant improvement in annual growth of yield and area under oilseed crops. However, India, still imports a significant proportion of its requirement of edible oil. The Technology Mission on Oilseeds adopted a four - pronged strategy in order to harness the best of production processing and storage technologies for attaining self-reliance in vegetable oils. The mission initiated corporatization and modernization process in the oilseed sector. The efforts result the significant growth in the production of oilseed under the mission period and the highest growth was observed in the case of soybean and sunflower oilseeds. The area under total nine oilseed crops registered growth of 4.3 per cent and production registered growth of around 8 per cent, which is highest since, independence, both area expansion and technology improvement contributed almost equally to attain this growth in oilseed crops. India was about to attain self sufficiency during the mission period and import of edible oils reduced to merely 6 per cent of total agricultural imports in value terms. The expansion of irrigation facilities and transfer of new technologies help to obtain the desired results.

The total area under oilseed crops was 19.0 million hectares during 1985-86 which increased 25.2 million hectares during 1992-93 and area under irrigation also increased from 17.3 per cent in 1985-86 to 24.1 per cent in 1992-93. The total production showed remarkable jump from 10.83 million ton to 20.11 million ton during this period and import fallen drastically from 1.1 million ton to 0.1 million ton in 1992-93.

The period from mid 90s to early 2000s observed declaration in the area and output of oilseed crops. It is realized that the effects of TMO peter outs with the time and negative growth in both area and production was recorded. The area under oilseeds registered - 2.7 per cent growth and production registered - 1.8 per cent growth. It reveals that the area under oilseeds is shifted to other crops and farmers are losing interest in growing oilseed crops. The low output prices, high risk, attack of insects and pests, weather aberrations etc are some of reasons for declaration in area and output. Higher Government minimum support prices (MSP) for wheat and rice, important competring crops for oilseeds in some regions, also showed the growth in oilseed area during this period.

The oilseed crops registered momentum with the dawn of millennium. During the period of 2000-2009, the total nine oilseed crops are showing growth of 2.5 per cent, 5.2 per cent and 2.6 per cent in area, production and productivity respectively. The total oilseeds area, production and productivity was 22.7 million hectares, 18.4 million ton and 810 kg/ha respectively during 2000-01, which increased to 27.6 million hectares, 27.7 mi8llion ton and 1006 kg/ha during 2008-09. It is heartening to note that the significant growth in production is coming from the yield effect. It is welcoming sign as the area for cultivation is limited. The advance estimates reveals that the Kharif oilseed production will meet the set targets of the year 2010-11.

The significant improvement in annual growth in area and yield under total nine oilseed crops during 2000-01 to 2008-09 as compared to period of 90s has resulted in increase in the annual growth rate of production of oilseed, but at the same time the import of oilseeds oil hovering between 40-50 per cent of total agricultural imports by India. This gap is likely to increase unless more vigorous efforts to increase production and productivity of oilseeds are made. In order to reduce the import and to ensure reasonable level of self-sufficiency, the current growth rate needs to be maintained.


Narayan, P; Chauhan, M S and Chauhan, S (2011). "Oilseeds Scenario in India". Agriculture Today, December, 2011. Pp 40-43

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.