Explore unconventional sources of edible oil

Source: Business Standard

Relevance: Analysis of New Edible Oil mission

Synopsis: The new edible oil mission launched by Central government offers both advantages and some issues. A brief look.

Context

In the backdrop of previous failed attempts to increase domestic oil seeds production, the government has recently set up Rs.11000 crore New Edible Oil Mission.

Why previous attempt failed?

The previous policies, most often, tended to over-protect consumer interests, disregarding those of the producers. Due to this, the supply deficit continued to soar, making India the world’s largest importer of cooking oils.

The need for a new mission

Today, the country meets its 70% requirement of oils through shipments from abroad. These imports, in value terms, are now next only to those of petroleum products, which is creating a huge import burden.

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Activities under the mission
  • Boost oilseed output–  mission would boost oilseeds output by providing the growers the needed inputs, technology, and know how
  • High yield and pest resistant varieties– Mini-kits of seeds of new high-yielding and disease- and pest-tolerant strains of various oilseed crops, including groundnut and soybean, are planned to be distributed to the farmers under the mission
  • Area expansion– Over 600,000 hectares of additional area is sought to be planted with oilseed crops in this season
Issues with the mission
  • Disturbing geology and ecosystem– The stress on encouraging oil palm cultivation in Northeastern states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, seems technically correct since the agro-ecological conditions in these areas are conducive to cultivating oil palm. However, it is been promoted by clearing forest hence disturbing geology and ecosystem
  • Neglect of unconventional sources such as rice bran and cottonseeds. These products are available in abundance and are going almost untapped at present. The proposed oilseed mission should include these unconventional sources
  • Lack of assurance of remunerative returns and competition from cheap imports are not taken into account.

 

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