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MRPC recommends use of oils like mustard and rapeseed to stall imports Thursday, August 01, 2013 08:00 IST  Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru Mustard Research and Promotion Consortium (MRPC) is now advocating the use of oils like mustard and rapeseed, instead of imported oil varieties. In this regard, the key objective of the Consortium is to help the Indian economy save the foreign exchange earnings and achieve self-sufficiency in the edible oil sector.  When India is looking at controlling the dollar outflow and narrow its current account deficit (CAD) driven by higher imports over exports, the edible oil sector provides some relief. In fact, India has only three edible oils: mustard, groundnut and coconut.  “Mustard oil along with coconut and groundnut oil can be the backbone of Indian oil economy, Dr Pragya Gupta, assistant director, MRPC, New Delhi, told FnB News in an email interaction.  Quoting the world data from Oil World 2012 & SEA Data Bank for India which stated that between November 2011 and October 2012, the total import of edible oil was 10.5 million tonne and the cost of imported oil was Rs 5,629.5 million or US$94.852 million, Gupta pointed out that by 2015, Indian mustard oil had potential to reduce import of edible oil by 10.3% and could save foreign exchange of Rs 579 million or around US$ 9.769 million.  “Therefore it is imperative to sensitise the masses about indigenous edible oil. It will decrease the dependence of India on edible oil imports and benefit the farmers and Indian economy at large,” she added.  In 2012-13, the total consumption of edible oil was 17.44 million tonne. During the same period, the total production of mustard oil was 2.01 million tonne, which is 11.5% of total edible oil demand, according to the world data from Oil World 2012 and SEA Data Bank for India report. Specifically in the case of mustard, the Consortium had carried out extensive studies to focus on crop improvement, productivity and develop value-added patented products.  Some of its research efforts include finding of the trans fat-free low calorie structured lipids in mustard oil and development of low absorptive mustard oil. It has assessed the adequate amount of the antioxidant alpha tocopherol and Vitamin E enrichment, which makes it a better choice as cooking medium.  MRPC has said that the Food Chemical Codex has recommended permissible limit of 6 per cent palmitic acid in edible oil and mustard oil fulfils this limit. Mustard has 490 mg/100 gm of calcium. Phenolics present in mustard oil retard oxidation of oil and act as anti-oxidant. Phytins present in mustard oil of 2.3% has cariostatic property. It prevents gums related problems in children. Mustard contains several bioactive nutrients: polyphenols, flavonoids, isoflavones, terpenes and glucosinolates which appear to lower the risk of cancer and cardio-vascular diseases in experimental animals and humans. In order to further substantiate the research findings of mustard, the Consortium has devised a biotechnological method for extraction of oil, to enhance its quality. Further, it has gone in for isolation of bioactive compound of pharmaceutical. It has developed mustard-based surface cleaner and mustard-based mosquito repellent.  “The rigorous efforts have paid dividends in the form of enhanced productivity of mustard and efforts should be made to switch to indigenous edible oils to save foreign exchange,” stated Dr Gupta.  
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