ICAR, the government's premier agri-research body, aims to increase oilseeds production by 40 per cent in the next five years to 45 million tonnes by bringing more area under cultivation and raising crop yield.
The increase in oilseeds output would help the country in cutting down import of vegetable oils to less than 50 per cent from the current 70 per cent, Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research Director A Vishnuvardhan Reddy said.
India produced 32.1 million tonnes of oilseeds in the 2016-17 crop year (July-June) from 26.21 million hectares at a productivity of 1,225 kg per hectare. The country imported about 14.5 million tonnes of vegetable oils in 2016-17.
"An action plan has been prepared to bring at least an additional 3.5 million hectares area under oilseeds crops in the next five years," Reddy said.
The institute has identified 17.5 million hectares of fallow land in various states and out of that it wants at least 3.5 million hectares to be brought under oilseeds crop, he added.
"We are also targeting to increase average productivity to 1,500 kg per hectare in next five year from current 1,225 kg per hectare through use of good agricultural practices," Reddy said.
Increase in area to about 30 million hectares coupled with higher yield of 15 quintal per hectare will lead to increase in production to 45 million tonnes in the next five years, the director said.
"Production of 45 million tonnes of oilseeds would reduce our import dependence to less than 50 per cent from the current about 70 per cent," Reddy said, adding that the country could become self sufficient in the next 10 years.
He highlighted that area under oilseeds has grown 1.88 times, while production has risen by 4.99 times and yield 2.86 times since 1966-67.
Reddy emphasised on improving irrigation facility and transfer of latest technology to farmers to boost yield and output of rainfed oilseeds crop.
The country imported edible oil worth 73,048 crore in 2016-17 and exported oils, cakes and meals worth Rs 20,913 crore, Reddy said.
He said the consumption of edible oil has risen to 18 kg per year and is estimated to touch nearly 22 kg annually by 2022. "Ideally, we should consume 11-12 kg," Reddy said.
The ICAR institute has pegged the total vegetable oil requirement at 33.20 million tonnes by 2022 and estimated that 17.03 million tonnes would be available from domestic market and over 16 million tonnes would be imported.
"With the economy doing well and income levels going up, per capita edible oil consumption has risen to approximately 17 kg. During the nineties, our dependence on imported oils was only about 3 per cent of our overall consumption. However, this has now ballooned to about 70 per cent," edible oil industry body SEA said recently.
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