Source: Business Standard


India grows a wide variety of oilseed – groundnut, castor seed, sesamum, rapeseed and mustard, linseed, soyabean, sunflower, nigerseed and safflower – and holds a significant share in world production. For instance, groundnut production accounts for 18 per cent of world output, next only to China. Also, rapeseed production accounts for 10 per cent of world output and India stands among the top three with China and Canada. Over the last four decades, oilseed production in India increased notably from a mere 9 million tonnes in the seventies to 25 million tonnes in the noughties. The major rise had been in the nineties of 7 million tonnes.


The Technology Mission on Oilseed in 1986 gave a push to the production of oilseed , and there was a noteworthy increase in productivity from 670 kg per hectare in the eighties to 835 kg per hectare in the nineties. Though growth of oilseed production slowed in the noughties compared to the previous decade, an increase of 4 million tonnes was recorded in this period. Most importantly, productivity continued to increase, registering an average yield of 971 kg per hectare in the noughties.


The top-four oilseed producing states are Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Madhya Pradesh alone accounts for 31 per cent of the total oilseed production in India, with the other three states contributing 10 to 15 per cent each. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa and Assam are the other important oilseed producers in India. (Click here for chart)



 ‘71-72 to  ‘80-81   ‘81-82 to ‘90-91    ‘91-92 to ‘00-01      ‘01-02 to  ‘10-11   
Average area under oilseed (million hectares)  17.01 20.09 25.50 25.67
Average oilseed production (million tonnes) 9.17 13.60 21.33 25.08
Average oilseed yield (Kg/hectare) 538.20 670.60 835.80 971.19

 Source: Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation 


Looking at average productivity across two five-year periods – 2000-01 to 2004-05 and 2005-06 to 2009-10 – most major oilseed producing states witnessed an increase in productivity, albeit at a varying rate. Madhya Pradesh, the largest producer, registered an impressive increase of 28 per cent, while the average yield rose by 21 per cent in Gujarat and 15 per cent in Rajasthan. However, Maharashtra saw a rise of just three per cent. Among the major oilseed producing states, it is only Karnataka that has seen a marginal fall in the average productivity over these years.


During the period 2005-06 to 2009-10, average productivity was found to be highest in small states like Manipur, Goa and Puducherry. Among the major oilseed producing states, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar recorded average productivity higher than the all-India average, while Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka and Assam fell far behind.


Despite output and productivity increases, supply lags the growing domestic demand and oilseed have been an important pressure point in food inflation in recent years. One of the biggest constraints to raising oilseed output has been that production is largely in rain-fed areas — in 2008-09, 27.1 per cent of the area under oilseed was irrigated. Looking at the top-three oilseed producing states, the irrigated area under oilseed is a low 6.4 per cent in Madhya Pradesh, 59.1 per cent in Rajasthan and 29.7 per cent in Gujarat.


In fact, with low domestic output estimated this year, import of vegetable oils is set for a record high. The dependence on the vagaries of weather has made India even more vulnerable on this front.


Indian States Development Scorecard, a weekly feature by Indicus Analytics, focuses on the progress in India and across the states across various socio-economic parameters.