New Delhi, March 25 IANS | 8 months ago

India's annual mustard oil production is likely to reach 3.4 million tonnes by 2020 from the estimated 2.6 million tonnes in the financial year ending March 31, 2014, according to Mustard Research Promotion Consortium.

The output would be driven by sustained rise in crop acreage. It will reduce India's dependence on imports of edible oil. Currently, India imports 50 percent of its edible oil needs.

Mustard oil output was recorded at 2.3 million tonnes in 2012-13.

India has successfully developed a hybrid variety of mustard seed which has high oil. The new variety developed is likely to have oil yield of up to 40-42 percent in comparison to the oil yield of 33-35 percent that current mustard varieties give, said Pragya Gupta, senior scientist and assistant director at Mustard Research Promotion Consortium.

"The production of mustard oil is the highest among various vegetable oils produced in the country and we must find ways in order to encourage domestic produce and to check edible oil imports," she said.

Rajasthan is the biggest producer of mustard crop and accounts for 50 percent of the total output. Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and the North East are the other major mustard producing areas in the country.

Mustard is a rabi crop and is sown during the winter months of October-November and is generally ready by March.

Umesh Verma, a senior official at Puri Oil Mills Limited, said the company expects the demand for mustard oil in the country to rise sharply in the coming years.

"There is growing evidence to suggest the health benefits of mustard oil and, therefore, its use as edible oil is on the rise," he said.

(Posted on 25-03-2014)

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