The Oilseeds sector has been one of the most dynamic components of world agriculture in the past three decades growing at 4.1% per annum surpassing the growth of agriculture and live stock products. The performance of oilseeds on the domestic front during the last two decades has been commendable braving the vagaries of weather conditions, the global price aberrations and the ever increasing domestic demand. The compound growth rates of nine oilseeds during 2000-01 to 2010-11 vis-a-vis 1990-91 to 1999-2000 have provided a fillip for consolidation and revitalization of the Oilseed economy. However, the annual growth rates of area (2.44%), production (5.4%) and yield (2.96%) of Oilseed crops during 1999-2009 have declined as compared to that of 1986-98 (Area: 3.05%, Production: 6.36% and Yield: 3.73%).

During the last two decades, the domestic consumption of vegetable oils increased at CAGR of 4.3% and is expected to continue increasing with the growing population, changing demographic pattern and rising per capita consumption due to increased GDP growth. India is the typical price elastic market where lower prices encourage higher per capita consumption.

The per capita consumption of vegetable oils is rising continuously surpassing 14 kg / year during 2010-11. This is almost 40% more than the recommended fat intake by ICMR to meet the nutritional needs of India’s population.

Demand projections of vegetable oils in India by the terminal year of XII Plan (2017) have been made by different agencies / researchers in the recent past, which is likely to be atleast 16 kg / year per capita. For a projected population of 1276 million, the total vegetable oils needs, will be 204 lakh tonnes. In terms of Oilseeds, it is nearly equivalent to 680 lakh tonnes provided that the proportion of different oilseeds remains constant in the coming years. If one assumes atleast 20% of vegetable oils from crops other than annual oilseeds like rice bran, cotton seed, coconut, tree borne oilseeds, Oilpalm, etc then the country needs to produce about 544 lakh tonnes by the terminal year of XII plan to achieve near self-reliance in vegetable oils.

Indian Vegetable oil economy is world’s fourth largest after USA, China and Brazil. Oilseed cultivation is undertaken across the country in about 260 lakh ha, mainly on marginal lands, dependent on monsoon rains (un-irrigated) and with low levels of input usage. The Oilseeds account for 13 % of the Gross cropped area, 3 % of the Gross National Product (GNP) and 10% value of all the agricultural commodities. Almost 72% of the total oilseeds area is confined to rainfed farming cultivated mostly by marginal and small farmers. Lack of appropriate technologies, cultivation under input-starved conditions, combating the biotic and abiotic stresses are some of the major causes for poor productivity of Oilseeds. The huge drain on the import bill coupled with the above factors led to establishment of Technology Mission on Oilseeds (TMO) in 1986 for enhancing the domestic production of edible Oils. Subsequently, pulses were brought under the ambit of Technology Mission in 1990. Oilpalm and Maize were also brought under the Technology Mission in 1992-93 and 1995-96 respectively. Consequent upon the setting up of Technology Mission on Oilseeds, a major breakthrough in increasing Oilseeds production was achieved through an integrated approach by introducing new crop production technologies, better supply of inputs and extension services support for marketing, post-harvest technologies and excellent coordination/cooperation between various concerned organizations/ departments and Ministries. As a result of concerted efforts by the TMOP, the production of Oilseeds increased from 108.3 lakh tonnes in 1985-86 to 324.79 lakh tonnes in 2010-11. This brought not only increase in area but also improvement in productivity from 570 kg/ha to 1193 kg/ha.

The country recorded the highest ever production of 324.79 lakh tonnes oilseeds during 2010-11 with record productivity level of 1193 kg/ha due to favourable weather conditions and support given by the Govt of India to the Oilseeds production/developmental programmes and policies. Despite impressive progress of vegetable oil sector in the last two decades, the import has been rising for last 7-8 years.

There are two major sources of Oilseeds i.e. Primary and Secondary. Primary sources are made combining the edible group [(Groundnut, Rapeseed (Toria, Mustard and Sarson), Soybean, Sunflower, Sesame, Safflower and Niger)] and non-edible group (Castor and Linseed). Similarly, secondary sources have been established combining edible group (Seasonal crops : Cottonneseed, Ricebran, Maize germ, Watermelon, Plantation crops : Coconut, Red-oilpalm, Tree borne oilseeds: Sal seed, Mahua, Mango-kernel, Cheura / Phulwara, Kokum, Dhupa, Simarouba) and non edible group (Seasonal crops : Mesta seed, Tobacco seed, Plantation crops : Rubber – seed, other Tree Borne Oilseeds: Neem, Karanj, Pilu or Khakan, Palash, Nahor, Undi, Pisa, Wild-apricot, Rattan-jyot, Maroti, Jojoba, etc).