Agri Business

To cut imports, Centre plans to boost oilseed cultivation

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on September 20, 2019

Parshottam Rupala, Minister of State for Agriculture   -  GRN Somashekar

Move to cut dependence on imports

After achieving self sufficiency by incentivising production of pulses, the Centre is keen on giving a push to oilseeds cultivation, a move that could help reduce the country’s dependence on edible oil imports.

“The government is fully interested in promoting oilseeds now and various options are being explored,” Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, told BusinessLine on the sidelines of the World Seed Congress 2019.

Rupala said the government wants to cut down on the huge edible oil import bill, which exceeds ₹60,000 crore per year. Besides focussing on improving the productivity, output and expanding the cultivation in the irrigated areas, the government also proposes to incentivise farmers to take up oilseeds, Rupala said.

The success achieved in pulses production by incentivising the farmers could be replicated in the area of oilseeds, Rupala said.

Pulses output saw a major increase after the Centre increased the minimum support price (MSP) and strengthened the procurement mechanism. Pulses production rose from 16.3 million tonnes in 2015-16 to 25.42 million tonnes in 2017-18, an increase of 55 per cent over three years. As per the fourth advance estimates, pulses production during 2018-19 stood at 23.40 million tonnes. India’s pulses consumption is estimated at around 24 million tonnes.

India’s edible oil consumption is estimated at around 22 million tonnes a year. Over two-thirds of the edible oil requirement is met through imports, entailing a huge foreign exchange outgo. The domestic production of edible oils is estimated to be between 6-7 million tonnes. Oilseeds production has gone up from 25.1 million tonnes during 2003-04 to around 32.26 million tonnes during 2018-19.

However, the production has been stagnant over the past three years, hovering around 31-32 million tonnes.


Published on September 20, 2019

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