Oilseeds Farming In India – A Profitable Business

Introduction: Hello farmers, today we are here with a great information of profitable Oilseeds farming in India. A large variety of oilseeds are produced in India such as groundnut, castor seed, sesame, rapeseed, mustard, linseed, soybean, sunflower, and safflower. India holds an important share in world oilseed production.

Oilseeds occupy a very important position in the agricultural economy of India. Oilseeds constitute an important group of commercial crops in India. The oil extracted from oilseeds form a very important thing in our diet and is used as raw materials for manufacturing a large number of items such as paints, varnishes, hydrogenated oil, soaps, perfumery, and lubricants, etc. Oil-cake which is the residue after the oil is extracted from the oilseeds forms a very important cattle-feed and manure.

A full guide to Oilseeds farming in India for maximum profits

Oilseed crops are one of the most important crops in the world. Their function in the human diet and industrial application cannot be under‐estimated. The major oilseed crops include soya bean, coconut, mustard, castor, oil palm, linseed, sesame, rapeseed, groundnut, sunflower, safflower, olive seed, etc. The by‐products (hull, meal, and oil) of oilseed crops had been integrated into human and also animal diets due to its nutrient compositions. The majority of the oilseed meal consists of proteins and high contents of necessary amino acid which are beneficial to human health and wellbeing.

Profitable Oilseed Cultivation in India.
Profitable Oilseed Cultivation in India.

Area and production of Oilseed crops

Cultivation of oilseed crops has been the backbone of the agricultural economy of India. Oilseed crops are cultivated at about 16.5 million hectares, with a total production of 10 million tonnes. This area constitutes about one-tenth of the total cultivated area in India. On the oilseed map of the world, India occupies a prominent place, both regarding acreage and production.

The area under oilseeds in India remains between 22 to 29 million hectares while the production of the major oilseeds remains between 20 to 33 million tonnes.

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Oilseeds farming

The domestic sources of vegetable oil are of two types they are primary and secondary.

Primary sources consist of Groundnut, Rapeseed (Mustard), Soya bean, Sunflower, Sesamum, Niger seeds, Safflower, Castor and Linseed.

Secondary sources consist of Coconut, Cottonseed, Rive bran, Solvent Extracted Oils and oils from Tree and forest origin.

One of the biggest constraints to raising oilseed production output has been that production is largely in rain-fed areas. Only one-fourth of the oilseed producing area in India remains under irrigation.

Measures to improve Oilseed production

Key measures to improve oilseeds production consist of;

  • Bringing additional oilseed areas under irrigation.
  • Promoting oil palm cultivation.
  • Further, there is a need to enlarge the scope of research, technology diffusion and institutional intervention to re-energize the seed oil sector. This would contain increase public research spending in oilseed crops for the development of biotic and abiotic stress-tolerant varieties.
  • Promotion of modern crop technology and improved dry farming.
  • Provide incentives to private sector participation in processing and value addition in the oilseed crops. Also, constraints for low capacity utilization must be addressed.
  • Strengthen the oilseed crop seed chain, mainly in groundnut to match the variety of specific demand for higher yield.

Major Oilseed crops in India

Some of the main Oilseeds produced in India are groundnut, mustard, coconut, sesame, soya bean, castor seeds, cotton seeds, linseed, and sunflower. Most of these are edible and mainly used as a cooking medium. And other Oilseed crops are Oilseed rape, Jatropha, Camelina, Macaw palm, Cardoon, Pennycress, Ethiopian mustard, Indian Beech. However, some of these are used as a raw material in the production of soap, cosmetics, and ointments.


Groundnut is the most important Oilseeds of India accounting for half of the main oilseeds produced in the country. Groundnut is predominantly a Kharif crop but it is also sown as a Rabi crop. Approximately, 90-95% of the total area is devoted to Kharif crops. It is a legume that thrives best in a tropical climate and requires temperature range 20 to 30°C; 50-75 cm rainfall.

Rapeseed or Mustard

Mustard is the second important Oilseed crop of India after Groundnut. This planet belongs to the cabbage family (Brassica) and farmers in India mostly grow three species of Mustard as follows;

India Mustard has very small and reddish-brown seeds and accounts for around 70% of total mustard production in India.

Mustard or Peeli (Yellow) has thicker pods and yellowish-brown seeds with thin seed coats.

Rape Seed or Toria (Brassica napus) has reddish seeds and is mostly grown in Punjab. Mustard seeds have 25 to 45% oil content and its oil cake makes an important cattle feed and manure.

Sesamum (Til)

The Sesamum seed comprises 45 to 50 percent oil used for cooking purposes and also used for manufacturing perfumery and medicines. India has the world’s largest area under Sesamum and it is also the largest producer of this crop accounting for one-third of the world production.


Linseed has a unique drying property and is right for the manufacturing of paints, varnishes, printing ink, etc. A small element is used as edible oil also.

Castor Seed

Castor seed comprises 50 percent oil and it is mostly used in industries.

Importance of oilseeds farming in the national economy of India

India is the largest producer of oilseeds in the world and the oilseed sector occupies a very important position in the agricultural economy of the country. Oilseeds are among the major crops that are grown in the country apart from cereals. In terms of acreage, production, and economic value, these oilseed crops are second only to food grains.

With its rich agro-ecological diversity, India is ideally appropriate for growing all the major annual oilseed crops. Among the nine oilseed crops grown in the country, seven are of edible oils that are soybean, groundnut, rapeseed-mustard, sunflower, sesame, safflower, and niger. And two are of non-edible oils that are castor and linseed. India ranks first in the production of most of the minor oilseeds that are castor, niger, safflower, and sesame.

In India, the cultivation of oilseeds is in high-risk regions where there are uncertain returns on investments. They are mostly grown in dryland areas which are characterized by scanty and uneven rainfall, poor soil health, etc. It has resulted in a high degree of variation in the cultivation of oilseeds annually.

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Oilseeds economy of India

The oilseed economy of India faces a host of challenges on technological, institutional and policy fronts. The capability in designing and implementing innovative approaches to adequately address each of these challenges will establish the future of the oilseed economy of India. Oilseed cultivation in India is mainly dependent on rainfall and this leads to a higher magnitude of instability in the production of oilseeds. In India, the marginal lands are earmarked for the cultivation of oilseed crops. Such ensure that a level playing field is not provided to the oilseed crops even when they are being compared increasingly with their competing crops of production, productivity, and profitability.

A major concern for the policy planners involved in ensuring the domestic availability of edible oils is the fact that domestic prices of oilseeds un-remunerative to enthuse farmers for intensive oilseeds cultivation.

Oilseeds farming market characteristics

The oilseed farming market characteristics consists of the sales of oilseeds by entities (organizations, sole traders and partnerships) that make oilseed crops earn from sales of oilseeds. These oilseed crops are typically grown in open fields and have an annual growth cycle. This market excludes processed oilseed products for example refined and unrefined vegetable oils and oilseed extracts. This market also excludes the proceeds from the captive or internal consumption of the seeds for further processing.

Processing of oilseeds

India is about the fourth oilseed producing country in the next only to the USA, China, and Brazil. India occupies the place of pride as the world’s largest producer of Groundnuts, Sesame seeds, Soya bean, Linseeds, and Castor seeds. Ending on the period of cultivation, the oilseeds are classified as “Kharif crop” and “Rabi crop”.

The oils and fats are composed of mixtures of glycerides of different fatty acids. The fats and oils are generally classified into edible and nonedible. Groundnut, soybean, mustard are some of the major sources of the edible oil. The edible oil is a major source of fat taken in daily meals and is used for cooking purposes and salad dressings. Oils are used in the soap industry, paint, varnishes, and plasticizer industry. The mechanical and solvent extraction methods are employed for the manufacture of oil from the oil seeds.

Raw material preparation

Oilseed and nut must be properly dried before storage and cleaned to remove sand, dust, leaves and other contaminants. All raw materials must be sorted to remove stones and moldy nuts. Some molds, particularly in the case of groundnuts, can cause aflatoxin poisoning. When storage is necessary, this must be in a weatherproof, ventilated rooms that are protected against birds, insects, and rodents.

Some raw materials such as groundnuts, sunflower seeds require dehusking or decorticating. Decortication is very important to give high yields of oil and reduce the bulk of material to process. Most oilseeds (copra, palm kernels and groundnuts) require grinding in mills before oil extraction to increase the yields of oil. All oil-bearing materials require having correct moisture content to maximize the oil yields.

Importance of the Oilseeds farming in India

  • Oilseed crops can be grown on all kinds of soil.
  • A very important constituent of the crop rotation with millets and pulses.
  • Valuable cash crops and bring ready cash to the farmers and they are a basis of foreign exchange.
  • They give raw material for many industries e.g. paints, varnishes, soaps, lubricating oils, etc.
  • Oilseed crops contribute vegetable oils and fats to the Indian diet.
  • The edible oil cakes give concentrates for the cattle.
  • The non-edible oil cakes are used as manures and various oil cakes like castor cake control termites due to their vermicide properties.

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  1. I am interested in exporting Dragonfruit from Queensland, Australia to India, Could you please tell me if there would be a market in India for this product?


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