Agri 2022

Oil Palm - a potential crop for edible oil and nutritional food security

Ravi Kumar Mathur

Ravi Kumar Mathur, Speaker at Agriculture Conferences 2022
ICAR-Indian Institute of Oil Palm Research, India
Title : Oil Palm - a potential crop for edible oil and nutritional food security


There is a huge gap between edible oil needs and production levels in India. Edible oil is the major source of energy and nutrition in humans. Palm oil is known to host a variety of phytonutrients with large number of health benefits. It contains palmitic (44%), stearic (5%), oleic (40%), linoleic (10%) and alpha linoleic (0.4%) acids. Among vegetable oils, palm oil is considered as an oxidatively stable one because of its saturated/ unsaturated fat ratio (close to one) and presence of carotenoids, tocopherols and tocotrienols.  Reduction in risk of arterial thrombosis and/ or atherosclerosis, inhibition of endogenous cholesterol biosynthesis, platelet aggregation, and a reduction in blood pressure are also enlisted in the list of health benefits of palm oil consumption. Population growth, improved standards of living and also changes in food habits, kept the edible oil demand graph of India to move ascendingly since last 2–3 decades. During recent times, the area under oilseeds production in the country is lingering around 26 and 27 million ha with an average yield of 1000 to 1100 kg ha-1. This accounts to 7.5 to 8.0 million tonnes of vegetable oil production locally, as against the current demand of 22.5 to 23 million tonnes per annum. The estimates of edible oil demands of India for 2030 and further, are still higher and warrant new initiatives and technological advancements. Oil palm being a heavy yielder of edible oil from fruit fibre (mesocarp), provides an excellent opportunity to bridge this demand and supply gap effectively, if adopted along with advanced technologies. In India, oil palm is grown both under irrigated and rainfed conditions having limited irrigation. Here, the crop is grown only in suitable areas identified. Also, suitable oil palm cropping systems have been developed with compatible crops for different locations which would aid in expanding oil palm cultivation to newer areas with better economic benefit. The policy support being rendered by both federal and local governments is likely to enhance the production levels of edible oil significantly to meet the edible oil demands of the country.

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