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MRPC views need for R&D for value addition in Indian oilseeds byproduct
Monday, 24 August, 2015, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Mustard Research & Promotion Consortium (MRPC) observes that there is an urgent need to invest in research and development and also in value addition of mustard oilseeds. This is on similar lines that of crops like soyabean, which have numerous value-added products like soy milk, protein, and nuggets.

India is the world's biggest consumer of edible oils and prime minister Narendra Modi desires to make it self-sufficient in the next five years. To encourage this, Government of India has decided to formulate a policy which would enable it to buy oilseeds directly from farmers, just like wheat & rice. This may be an encouraging step to boost production of domestic oil seeds but more needs to be done especially for mustard oilseed farmers. India has to not only raise output of mustard oilseeds but also has to compete with low cost imports, according to MRPC.

While crushing mustard seeds, the oil accounts for just one-third; the residual two-thirds is oilcake. With proper research the residual oil can be processed to produce quality bio-diesel and can be used for industrial applications, fertilisers and protein isolation, to name a few. Moreover, high-end research in the area of protein extraction, suitable for human consumption from oilcake can help in addressing protein malnutrition that is prevalent across the country.

“ India needs to learn from countries like Malaysia and Italy, who have managed to sell their edible oil worldwide, which in return has contributed to their economy. Indian mustard oil has the potential to reduce imports of edible oil and can save valuable foreign exchange. What palm oil is for Malaysia, olive oil for Italy and soya oil for America, mustard oil can be for India,” stated Vivek Puri, managing director, Puri Oil Mills, which deals with P Mark Mustard Oil.

“There is a need to have a vision and a plan for this industry. Ministry of agriculture should work towards establishing a 'Mustard Oil Development Board' for the integrated development of mustard oil industry in the country, with focus on higher productivity and value addition. The agriculture ministry should pay heed to the scenario and boost the oil seed production,” he added.

India needs to urgently lower the imports of oil seeds which cost the country a high amount of foreign exchange every year. As of now, the country is meeting its demand of oilseeds thus; 60% by way of imports and 40% produced domestically.

As per ministry of agriculture data, edible oil import of India ending 2011-12 was 84.45 lakh tonne valued at Rs 46,225 crore. In 2012-13, it was 110.14 lakh tonne valued at Rs 61,107 crore. In 2013-14, it was 104.34 lakh tonne and Rs 56,489 crore. In the last fiscal, 2014-15, it was 120.45 lakh tonne valued at Rs 76,692 crore.
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