Oilseed Crops Of Pakistan

Many oilseed crops are grown in Pakistan (Table 1) as a source of vegetable oil. These crops are grouped in two categories viz. conventional and non-conventional oilseed crops. Rapeseed-mustard, groundnut and sesame are conventional crops and are being grown in the country for a long period. Sunflower, soybean and safflower are non-conventional crops and leave been introduced recently in the country. There are also some oilseed crops, which are mainly used for industrial purposes, such as linseed and castor. Presently, local production of oilseeds meets only about 32% percent of the total country’s requirements for edible oil.

The main source of local edible oil production is cottonseed. Cotton, primarily grown, for its fibre, contributes about 72 percent towards the total domestic edible oil production and thus is an important oilseed crop in Pakistan. Rapeseed-mustard crops are grown on a large area, contribute on an average, about 21 percent in the edible oil production However, its oil is not used in the manufacture of vegetable ghee (hydrogenated vegetable oil in semi-solid form) as it contains high levels of erucic acid and traces of sulphur compounds (glucosinolates). Its oil is mostly used in pickles, deep frying, anointing body, as hair oil etc.

Groundnut, which is the second large oilseed crop of the country, is used as roasted nuts and in confectionery Products and almost no oil is extracted from it. Other crops such as sesame sunflower, soybean and safflower all together contribute only about. 5-6 percent in the local edible oil production.

A little quantity of corn oil (less than 2000 tonnes) is also produced as a by-product of corn industry. It is an expensive vegetable oil and is entirely consumed for edible purposes. In addition, some vegetable oil is also obtained from rice bran. The rice bran oil is not processed into edible grade and all of it is used in the Manufacturing of laundry soap in its crude form.

Contrary to the progress made in major crops like wheat, rice, corn and cotton at the growth rate of 4 percent and above during last two decades, production of oilseeds in the country have shown a very slow growth rate, i.e. O.31 percent per annum. Government of Pakistan has made quite concerted efforts to increase the production of major crops (wheat, rice and cotton) as a result, a rapid increase in area,and reduction was achieved for these crops during the last two decades. The Pakistani farmers have been highly responsive to incentives extended by the Government.

Cotton contributes about 72 percent edible oil in the domestic production is grown on a large area. Its area has increased by almost 51 percent over the last 19 years, i.e. from 1.733 million hectares in 1970-71 to 2.62 million hectares in 1988-89. Similarly, production of cottonseed has increased by about 125 percent and average yield almost 73 percent during the same period.

On the other hand, production of oilseeds is a story of stagnant production and in some cases of negative growth. During the last two decades, rapeseed-mustard which is the second important group of oilseed crops and contribute about 21 percent production of vegetable oil in the country has shown a negative growth,rate of 2.75 percent per annum for its area. Its production has also reduced during the same period but comparatively with lesser magnitude because of,some improvement in its productivity at unit area basis.

With some fluctuations, area of groundnut has increased slowly from 1970-71 to 1988-89. As a result groundnut production has also increased in the country. A total of 44,700 tonnes of nuts were Produced during 1970-71 which reached to its maximum of 77,600 tonnes during 1988-89 and has registered an annual growth rate of (+) 2.5 percent.

Sesame is a minor oilseed crop and its cultivation remained almost stagnant over last two decades. The total production of sesame reduced at a growth rate of (-) 1.67 percent per annum. The highest Production of 18,700 tonnes was recorded during 1979-80 and during the year 1988-89 its production was only 10,000 tonnes.

The commercial introduction of sunflower began in 1965. But it did not increase rapidly as expected up to 1979-80. However, from 1980-81 the area increased at an appreciable annual growth rate of 25.75 percent up to 1988-89. A total of 42,500 tonnes of sunflower seed was produced in 1987-88 which was the highest in the sunflower history of the country until now. During 1988-89 production reduced to 34,400 tonnes.

Although soybean as an oil crop as introduced in Pakistan along with sunflower, it could not make its place in the country. Its cultivation remained restricted to a limited area mostly in the North West Frontier Province. Since its average yield per hectare is also very low, its production remained small. The highest production of soybean was 3,800 tonnes in 1986-87 which reduced to 1,200 tonnes in 1988-89.

Production of safflower has been very little and no appreciable progress was made for its improvement in spite of the efforts made by the government from time to time. Safflower is grown mostly on the right bank of river Indus in upper Sindh as “Dobari Crop” (the crop grown after rice with out irrigation). Its area remained highly fluctuating since its introduction in the country. The area reached to the maximum of 8,100 hectares in 1982-83 and now it has decreased to 2000 hectares in 1988-89, a negligible area.

Area and production of conventional crops, excluding non-edible types, remained almost stagnant for the last two decades. The area under these crops was 571,100 hectare in 1970-71 which reduced to 427,000 hectare in 1988-89 and registered a growth rate of (-) 1.52 percent per annum. Similarly, total production of conventional oilseeds was 331,700 tonnes in 1970-71 which remained at 336,700 tonnes in 1988-89. The areas under NC oilseed crops in Pakistan is negligible and has not increased as expected.

Average yields of all the oilseed crops are very low. The profitability of these crops is not well established due to which they remained neglected. Mostly, conventional oilseeds are grown on marginal lands while the introduced oilseed crops are passing through the process of introduction and the farmers, yet, do not know the production technology to grow them. Consequently to the other developed Countries. General constrains for low productivity are:

– Lack of high yielding varieties.
– Inadequate adoption of improved agronomic practices.
– Lack of quality seed.
– Inadequate application of necessary inputs.
– Damage by the pests (Insects, diseases, birds)
.- Non-availability of suitable machinery for planting harvesting and threshing for Oilseed crops.
– Lack of conducive policies.

RAPESEED MUSTARD (Brassica spp.)

Rapeseed-mustard are important species of Brassica group grown as oilseed crops in Pakistan. These have remained one of the major source of oil in the sub-continent for centuries. Presently, five Brassica species are cultivated in the country as field crops. Among them, the existence of “sarson” (B. campestric), “raya” (Bjuncea) and “taramira” (Eruca sativa) in our country goes back to centuries. Introduction of B napus (gobhi sarson) is rather recent and its cultivation as a seed crop is confined to NWFP arid some areas of Punjab. In other parts of the country, it is sometimes grown as a fodder in mixture with “berseem” (alfalfa/medics). Another newly introduced species, B carinate(ethiopian mustard) is fast coming up as a high yielding, aphid and drought tolerant type which is suitable for irrigated as well as rainfed conditions.

Area under rapeseed-mustard has been fluctuating and decreased considerably during the last 19 years. It was 510,000 hectare in 1970-71 and decreased to 333,600 hectare in 1988-89. The annual growth rate for the area worked out is (-) 2.75 percent during the same period.

Total area under these crops in the country is almost equally distributed among sarson, raya, taramira, toria, and poorbi raya. Twenty-five to thirty percent of rapeseed-mustard is grown under brani (rainfed) conditions and about 70 percent of the crop is grown under irrigated conditions. Among four provinces, Punjab has the largest share of 53 percent in the total area, whereas Sind, NWFP and Baluchistan contribute 25, 15, 7 percent. respectively.

Average yield of rapeseed-mustard in Pakistan is low as compared to other countries of the world. However. there has been a slight increase in yield per hectare from 526 Kg in 1970-71 to 746 Kg in 1988-89, registering an average annual growth rate of 1.89 percent. Constraints to increased production are:

– Use of marginal lands.
– Damage by aphids.
– High level of erucic acid and glucosinolates
– Competition with other winter crops such as wheat, chickpea, lentil and winter forages.

GROUNDNUT (Arachis hypogaea)

The first planting of groundnut on commercial scale in Pakistan was done on 400 hectares in Rawalpindi division during 1949-50. Later on, as the production technology developed, it spread to the provinces of NWFP and Sind but area in these provinces remained very small. Area under groundnut crop increased slowly and reached to 50,700 hectares during 1977-78.

During 1978-79, area dropped to 36,500 hectares. From thereon, area started increasing again at an annual growth rate of (+) 3.87% and reached to 63,100 hectares during 1988-89. Total of 44.700 tonnes of nuts were produced during 1970-71 which reached to 77,600 tonnes during 1988-89 and registered an annual growth rate of (+) 2.50% over a period of 19 years.

About 85.1, 9.1 and 5.6 percent of the total area under groundnut lies in the provinces of Punjab, NWFP and Sind, respectively while no groundnut is produced in Baluchistan. At present about 82.8 percent of total acreage under groundnut in Pakistan is planted in Rawalpindi division under rainfed conditions.

Estimate of average yield of groundnut for the last five year (1985-89) is 1029 Kg/ha. During 1970-71, the highest average yield of 1476 Kg/ha was recorded. As the area under groundnut increase in the country, the average yield gradually decreased and registered an annual growth rate of (-) 1.35 percent.

Research conducted in different parts of Pakistan have indicated that the highest average yield can be increased to 2000 Kg/ha by the application of optimum inputs and adopting recommended cultural practices. Constrains to increased production are:

– Non-availability of high yielding and short duration varieties.
– Slow adaptation of recommended production practices.
– Damage by mammalian pests.
– High harvesting cost.

SESAME (Sesamum indicum)

Sesame is the most ancient oilseed crop known to this region. Charred sesame seeds as old as 3500 B.C. have been found from excavations at Harappa, Pakistan. It is cultivated on a limited area and is considered a minor oilseed crop. Like other conventional oilseed crops in Pakistan, area under sesame refined almost stagnant. It was grown on 30,800 hectares in 1970-71, and thereafter increased gradually up to 1981-82. During 1982-83 the area once again started dropping and reached to 18,000 hectares in 1987-88. Over last 19 years, sesame area has shown a negative growth rate of (-) 2.18 percent per year. Total production of sesame was 10,100 tonnes during 1988-89. The highest production of 19,300 tonnes was recorded during 1979-80.

Sesame is grown in all provinces of Pakistan and area is well distributed in irrigated as well as rainfed zones. On average of last five year (1980-81 to 1984-85), 59.7, 31.0, 6.7 and 2.6 percent of the total area is located in Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan and NWFP respectively.

In Punjab, it is mostly grown in Gujrat, Sialkot Bhakkar, Attock, Leiah and Bahawalnagar districts. Sixty two percent of the total sesame area in Punjab lies in Gujranwala division (GuJrat and Sialkot districts). Sanghar and Tharparkar districts are the main sesame growing areas in Sind where 91 percent of the Sind area under sesame is located. In Baluchistan. 76 percent of the area is located in Nasirabad. Kohat and D.I. Khan are the main sesame growing areas in NWFP.

Sesame, in general, is a low yielding crop, its average yield is only 405 kg/ha, which is obviously very low as compared to the yields realized in Egypt, USA and Mexico. Average yield of sesame in the country has increased during the last 19 years from 341 to 405 kg/ha, which indicates an annual growth of (+) 0.91 percent.

Factors responsible for low Production are:

– Shattering losses.
– Lack of improved high yielding varieties.
– Cultivation on marginal lands.
– Low level of fertilizer use.

SUNFLOWER (Helianthus annus)

Sunflower as an oil crop was introduced in Pakistan during early 1960s, and its commercial cultivation began in 1965. Among the three NC oilseed crops, the sunflower has been found the most successful. On average of 10 years from 1970-71 to 1979-80. area under sunflower was only 372 hectares. It showed a negative growth rate, i.e., (-) 1.26 percent per annum during that period. The area increased to 4679 hectares in 1980-81, and thereafter it showed an increasing trend with an annual growth rate of (+) 22.6 percent. The maximum area of 43.100 hectares reached in 1987-88 and a total of 42,570 tonnes of sunflower seed was harvested from it. However, during 1988-89 area dropped to 29,500 hectares and has registered a growth rate of 25.8 percent over last 19 year’s area.

Most of the area under sunflower is in Punjab and Sind. On average of 5 years (1983-84 to 1988-89), 76.9 percent of the total area in Pakistan is located in Punjab. and 23.2 percent in Sind, and less than 1 percent in NWFP. In 1983-84, about 52.6% of the total area was planted in Punjab which has increased to 77.6% in 1988-89, it indicates a more rapid growth of sunflower in Punjab than in other provinces.

Area in Punjab is almost equally distributed in Sargodha, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Okara, Sahiwal, Multan, Rahimyar Khan and Vehari districts. However, planting of sunflower is now concentrating in Gujrawala division in the rice based farming system. and in Multan division in the cotton based farming system. In Sindh, sunflower is grown mostly in Badin district (61 percent). Other important sunflower areas in Sindh are Nawabshah, Hyderabad, Thatta, Tharparkar and Sukkur districts.

Annual growth rate of 2.58% up to 1988-69 indicates that the average yield of sunflower has remained virtually stagnant. But due to favourable climatic conditions and smaller acreage, the average yield of the country during 1988-89 has reached to 1167 kg/ha. which probably, will drop again if the area increased in future. Research and development constraints to increased production are:

– Non-availability of suitable local hybrids/varieties.
– High cost of imported seed.
– Lack of awareness about the crop and its production technology.
– Losses due to bird damage.
– Defective and inefficient marketing/procurement system.

SOYBEAN (glycine max)

Soybean is known to be grown in the northern region of Pakistan since times immemorial. Black and brown colored soybeans have been grown from ancient times in the hills of Hazara. Swat, Dir and Kurram, Agency for the human food and livestock feed. A land race of soybean called “Mothi” is cultivated in Hazara region for forage and feed. Another black seeded land race called “Tora Kurkha” is grown in Kurram agency.

Soybean, as an oilseed crop, is under research for more than last 20 years in all the provinces of Pakistan. Several attempts have been made during the same period to introduce soybean for commercial planting but no encouraging success was achieved. Presently, it is grown on a very small area, in Punjab, Sindh and NWFP provinces. From 1977-78 onwards area under soybean increased slowly and in 1986-87 it was planted on 6000 hectares but thereafter it reduced to 2,300 in 1988-89 hectares.

Most of soybean area in NWFP is located in Hazara division (59%, Abbottabad and Mansehra districts). Rest of the area is distributed in Malakand division and Federally administered Tribal Area. All soybean in Sindh is grown in Hyderabad division where most of the area is located in Badin and Hyderabad districts. Only a small area is cultivated in Sanghar and Thatta districts. In PunJab, soybean was planted on commercial scale for the first time during 1985 in cotton growing area and now it is confined to Multan district on a very small area.

Average yield of soybean in the country is extremely low as compared to other soybean growing countries. On average of last 5 years (1984-85 to 1988-89) the yield was only 351 kg/ha and has registered a growth rate of (+) 0.27 percent per year. Production constraints are:

– Non-availability of high yielding varieties and their seed.
– Lack of awareness about production technology. Improper marketing.

SAFFLOWER (Carthamus tinctorius)

In Pakistan, safflower had been grown for centuries as a source of dye, medicine and human food. However, safflower did not gain any attention as an oilseed crop and has remained neglected until recently.

As an oil crop, it was introduced in the country during mid sixty’s and since then it has been grown on very small area in the Sindh. During 1970-71 it was planted on 103 hectares only, which reduced to 53 hectares next year (1971-72) and then it was not planted for five years in the country.

In 1977-78 the seed division of Ghee Corporation of Pakistan (GCP) was created to promote the NC oilseed crops which undertook the task to increase tire. area of safflower in the Sindh province. As a result, safflower was planted on 35 hectares in 1977-78, thereafter, area increased slowly to 8,100 hectares in 1982-83 but once again it dropped to 200 hectares in 1988-89. In 1983-84 about 97 percent of the total area under safflower was planted in Sindh and rest of the 3 percent in NWFP. But during 1984-85 and afterwards it was grown only in Sindh. In 1980-81 an attempt was made to grow safflower in Punjab when 621 hectares were planted. The efforts did not become fruitful because the crop was not taken up by the farmers of Punjab.

Although average yield of safflower in the country was high, i.e. 1076 in 1985-86, but it has dropped rapidly during last four years reached to 550 kg/ha in 1988-89. Major constraints to production are;

– Spiny nature of the crop.
– Lack of high yielding varieties.
– Competition with other winter crops.
– Long duration for crop maturity.
– Lack of seed dormancy due to which the mature seeds gets germinated in heads before harvesting.

Table 1. Oilseed crops grown in Pakistan.

NameAcreage (1988-89)
 (`000′ ha)

Source: Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan, 1988-89, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Co-operatives, Islamabad.

Table 2. Area of cultivated land in Pakistan.

 Area (million ha)
Net area (1)14.3415.2216.06
Current fallow (2)4.754.884.86
Cultivated land 3=(1+2)19.0920.1020.92
Not available for cultivation (4)20.4320.9223.61
Culturable waste (5)11.2511.0510.33
Forest Land (6)2.722.892.92
Total area reported (7)=(3+4+5+6)53.4954.9657.78
Geographical area79.6179.6179.61

Source: Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan 1980-81 and 1988-89 Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Co-operatives, Islamabad.

Table 3. Agricultural land use in Pakistan.

 Area (`1000′ ha)
Item1970-721978-791988-89 AGR*
 (Average)   (%)
All cereals9439.210242.411737.0 1.29
Rice1479.91899.12041.7 1.91
Wheat5987.36360.07729.6 1.51
Corn636.2656.1865.8 1.83
Others1335.81327.21099.9 2.08
All oilseeds625.6525.24468.4(-)1.69
Sunflower0.60.0429.5 25.75
Groundnut35.750.768.1 3.87
Linseed6.910.39.2 1.7
Cotton1845.51843.22619.4 2.08
Potato21.629.863.9 6.59
All Fruits213.7273.1444.6 4.40
All vegetables122.2118.1198.4 2.89
All pulses1367.91544.71394.9 0.12
Other2964.34723.34037.3 1.26

* Annual Growth Rate.

Source: Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan, 1980-81 and 1988-89 Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Co-operatives, Islamabad.

Table 4. Production of agricultural products in Pakistan.

 Production (`1000′) tonne
Crops1970-721978-791985-861988-89 AGR*
 (Average)    (%)
All cereals10400.512860.716691.519395.0 3.73
Rice1479.91899.13315.23200.2 4.64
Wheat5887.36360.011703.014419.2 5.41
Corn636.2656.11027.61204.1 3.82
Cotton1580.01196.53076.43605.6 5.22
Potato241.2318.0543.3644.8 5.95
All fruits1732.12089.73608.93792.5 4.72
All vegetables**1476.61460.52065.42627.3 3.45
All oilseeds358.2339.7364.2377.7 0.31
Groundnut51.072.469.177.6 2.50
Sunflower0.90.0418.134.4 23.90
Soybean0. 1.71
Linseed3. 1.38
Milk7758.08670.011508.012900.Oa 2.71
Meat591.0742.01153.01315.Oa 4.30
Fishery214.2b293.0408.4445.4 3.93
Forestry (cm3)820.0805.0698.0950.Oc 0.78
(million)65.377.896.2108.7 2.96

* Annual growth rate.
** All vegetables except potatoes.
a 1987-88.
b 1973-74.
c 1986-87.
Source: Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan, 1983 and 1988-89, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Co-operatives, Islamabad.

Table 5. Area harvested for major oilseed crops In Pakistan

    Area (`1000′ ha)    

Source: Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan, 1983 and 1988-89, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Co-operatives, Islamabad.

Table 6. Annual production of major oilseed crops of Pakistan.

 Production (`000′ tonne)

Source: Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan, 1983 and 1988-89, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Co-operatives, Islamabad.

Table 7. Average yield per hectare of major oilseed crops.

 Average Yield (kg/ha)

Source: Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan, 1983 and 1988-89, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Co-operatives, Islamabad.

Table 8. Main producing areas of major oilseed crops in Pakistan during 1970 and 1988-89.

 Area as percent of total under each crop

Source: Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan, 1983 and 1988-89, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Co-operatives, Islamabad.

Muhammad Ramzan Rafique
Muhammad Ramzan Rafique

I am from a small town Chichawatni, Sahiwal, Punjab , Pakistan, studied from University of Agriculture Faisalabad, on my mission to explore world I am in Denmark these days..

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