Govt goals to rein in edible oil imports with push to home sunflower manufacturing

In a bid to scale back dependence on edible oil imports, the federal government is contemplating measures to broaden the world beneath sunflower cultivation, an agriculture ministry official stated on Tuesday.

Measures to revive sunflower manufacturing, which was grown on 2.66 million hectare (mh) in 1993-94, will embody provide of high quality seeds, productiveness enchancment by way of introduction of know-how, and promotion of processing and worth addition.

According to the official, space beneath sunflower cultivation dropped to 1.94 mh throughout 2005-2010. “Currently it is grown on only 0.2 mh, mostly in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh,” the official stated. Earlier Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh additionally used to develop sunflower.

Agriculture ministry officers stated there may be scope to broaden sunflower cultivation in Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

“This is what we have been telling the government all along, to promote cultivation of oilseeds within the country itself,” stated Atul Chaturvedi, president, Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA). Chaturvedi stated at one level, the southern states had been producing no less than a million tonne of sunflower seed.

Agriculture ministry officers stated the shortage of remunerative value is the primary motive for the decline lately. “Less involvement of private companies in seed production due to less sunflower area has further reduced the cultivation,” an agriculture ministry notice stated.

Chaturvedi stated the SEA can be pushing for related steps for groundnut and mustard, that are excessive oil-bearing seeds. “All these seeds are part of our proposal for the national mission, which we have been trying to put across to the government,” he stated.

Union minister for agriculture and farmers’ welfare Narendra Singh Tomar final month mentioned promotion of sunflower cultivation with states, specialists and different stakeholders.

Currently, India produces about 45% of its home edible oil consumption requirement. Soya bean (24%) and groundnut (7%) are different oils that contribute to home manufacturing. Crude palm and soya bean oil are imported primarily from Malaysia, Indonesia, Argentina and Brazil, and kind shares of 62% and 21% of edible oil imports, respectively.

Because of excessive import dependence, edible oil imports are estimated to be price round Rs 1.5 trillion in 2021-22. India imports 13 million tonne of edible oil yearly. India is dependent upon Ukraine for sunflower oil, which had a 15% share within the edible oil import basket in 2020-21. Ukraine is the biggest exporter of sunflower oil on the planet, producing nearly 46% of the world’s sunflower and safflower oil.

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