Agri 2022

Value addition to oilseeds to make the crops more remunerative

G Nagaraj

G Nagaraj, Speaker at Agriculture Conferences
Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research, India
Title : Value addition to oilseeds to make the crops more remunerative


India is endowed with a wide diversity of oleaginous material, a few annuals and a large number of perennials. It derives its major quantity of vegetable oil from nine cultivated oilseeds. Groundut, rapeseed, sesame, soyabean, safflower, sunflower and niger  are the cultivated edible oilseeds while castor and linseed ( flaxseed) are the two industrial oilseeds. Byproduct oils from cottonseed and rice bran  and tree oils from coconut and palm also add to its edible oil kitty. All the supplies from indigenous sources add up to 10m tons. India's total requirement for a population of 1300m stands at round 23mtons. The gap namely, 13m tons is being imported at a huge cost to the exchequer. The government has an urgent need to reduce imports.

There are two ways through which imports can be reduced. One is by reducing consumption and the other is to increase production. With increasing standards of living, the first one has no scope and is not practicable. The second one certainly has received much attention over the years. The above mentioned annual oilseeds are grown under rainfed conditions on somewhat poor soils. The present average yields are around one ton per ha. Providing critical irrigations along with suitable crop protection measures have the potential to easily double or even treble the yields. Sufficient improved agricultural technology exists which needs to be intensively put into practice.

The other aspect that can come to the rescue of the farmer and the country is a good remunerative price to the produce, namely, the oilseeds. A higher purchase price will automatically spur the farmer to cultivate more oilseeds. This can be achieved, if one understands the  value of oilseeds with respect to their nutritional quality. Oilseeds, apart from being good sources of high  quality edible oil are also rich sources of protein with most of the essential amino acids. they also contain useful carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Value added protein rich products can be manufactured from oilcakes. Lot of day to day culinary products are being made at the house hold level using oilseeds like groundnut, sesame and niger. However, they have not transformed to the level of moving over to supermarket shelves. Small scale industries should come forward to procure the oilseeds at higher prices and manufacture a wide variety of products. Such an enterprising activity not only supports the farmer, but also helps the consumer in having nutrition rich ready to eat  food  products.

Most products of the oilseed crops, like haulms, shells, hulls,  seed coats etc. are rich in cellulose and can serve as raw material for the paper board industry and as animal feed. Unhygienically processed oilcakes can serve as organic manure to help improve the soil fertility. Lot of products similar to the ones being made from soybean can be made from sesame,  groundnut etc.  the best possible nutritious plant protein sources. Milk, meat and other analogues can be made from the whole seed and de-oiled cakes. Sesame , groundnut, niger,  sunflower kernels and even rapeseed are consumed in one way or the other throughout India. Their usage and utility should be encouraged through publicity etc. Groundnut and sesame chikis( a preparation  made with jaggery/sugar) are popular in India and especially recommended to pregnant and lactating mothers. The need of the hour is to make many such products and add value to the oilseeds. Industrial oils are useful in making  many oleochemicals like aviation lubricants, paints, cosmetics etc. Efforts to manufacture and export the products rather than raw material will help the nation earn more money and also help the farmers to recieve remunerative prices  to their crops.

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