Castor is an important non-edible oilseed crop and is grown especially in arid and semi arid region. It is reported to have originated in the tropical belt of both India and Africa. Castor is scientifically known as Ricinuscommunis L., is cultivated around the world because of the commercial importance of its oil.
Historically, Brazil, China and India have been the key producing countries meeting global requirements. It is cultivated in 30 different countries on commercial scale, of which India, China, Brazil, USSR, Thailand Ethiopia and Philippines are major castor growing accounts for majority of the world’s production.
Castor seed contains 40% to 60% oil, which is rich in tryglycerides called ricinolein.
Castor oil is used as a lubricant in high-speed engines and airplanes. Hydrogenated castor oil is used in polishes, ointments, waxes, printing inks, cosmetic, hair dressings, soaps and disinfectants. It is also used for medicinal and lighting purposes. Castor oil is used in many veterinary uses.
Castor oil cake is rich in protein but due to the presence of `ricin’ it is unfit for cattle feed. It is used as manure.
Climate and Cultivation
Castor is drought tolerant and grows well in a wide range of rainfall and climatic conditions. It requires moderately high temperatures with low humidity throughout the growing season to produce maximum yields. The castor crop duration varies between 145 and 280 days depending upon the variety.
In India, it is usually cultivated as a kharif crop though cultivated as a rabi crop in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It is advisable to sow the seed immediately after the onset of monsoons in the second fortnight of June. Castor is ready for harvesting around Dec-Jan.
mportant castor varieties
Andhra Pradesh: Aruna, Bhagya, Saubhagya, Dwarf Mutant, Short Mutant
Karnataka: H.C. 6, Rosy, GCH –4
Gujarat: GCH 3, GCH 2, J-44, GC 2
Gujarat: Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Gondal, Gadwal, Bhabar
Andhra Pradesh: Jedcherla
Castor seed is not exported but castor oil and meal are exported. Exports of oil and meal are rising steadily. Meal exports are doubled during the past five years. India being the single largest producer oil castor production in the world becomes the major source of castor products.
Major export destinations: South Korea, Taiwan and France
Major import sources: NA
Factors Influencing Prices:
- Expected demand: Average level of consumption and exports during the past few years
- Crop acreage: Extent of area sown under the crop
- Production: Estimated output based on the acreage and weather conditions and pest infestation etc.,
- Imports and exports: In case of edible oils, the traders need to know the details of important sources and destinations of the external trade. Further, the traders have to monitor the crop status in the respective countries.
- Government policies: Any change in government policy relating to the crops such as
- MSPminimum support price
- Procurement: Direct procurement by the government agencies and storage in warehouses change in tariff and base prices of externally traded goods will have a direct impact on the respective commodity prices.