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ICRISAT and IOPEPC Collaborate to Boost India’s Oilseed Production and Export

ICRISAT and IOPEPC Collaborate to Boost India’s Oilseed Production and Export

Media release

Hyderabad, India - The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Indian Oilseeds & Produce Export Promotion Council (IOPEPC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on March 8, 2023, to enhance the production of quality oilseeds in India.

The MoU was signed by ICRISAT’s Director General, Dr Jacqueline Hughes, and IOPEPC’s Chairman, Mr Nilesh Vira, with the aim of strengthening long-term cooperation to increase the quantum and quality of oilseeds grown in India.

The collaboration will focus on expanding cultivated areas, deploying scientific technologies, and collaborating at all levels, including providing farmers with better quality certified seed and strengthening the supply chain of oilseeds.

In addition, the partnership will promote food safety principles, recommend policies and programs to the Government of India and to support the growth of the Indian oilseed sector.

During the discussions, Mr Vira stressed the importance of developing climate-resilient oilseed crops, given the unpredictable weather patterns affecting India's agriculture. He cited the challenge faced by farmers in growing aflatoxin-free groundnuts, a crop that is increasingly in demand in the export market.

“Farmers want oilseed crops that can withstand climate vagaries. Changing monsoon patterns are affecting oilseed crops that usually take 110-120 days to mature. Farmers do not want to grow oilseeds due to unpredictable weather and we need to find solutions,” said Mr Vira.

Mr Kishore Tanna, Director-Groundnut Panel Convenor, IOPEPC said that India is importing 15 million tons of edible oil and that’s because farmers do not want to grow oilseeds, especially groundnuts.

Groundnut - an important oil seed crop
Groundnut - an important oil seed crop

Mr Tanna also drew attention to the fact that groundnut exports to the European Union had dropped to around 6000-7500 tons due to stringent import rules on aflatoxin that call for levels of not more than 2 - 4 PPB for various grades of groundnut.

ICRISAT’s Director General, Dr Hughes, highlighted the need to eliminate intermediaries in the export value chain, thereby increasing the profits for smallholder farmers. She also emphasized ICRISAT’s commitment to finding solutions to eliminate aflatoxin in groundnuts, which has detrimental effects on all consumers.

"Aflatoxin elimination is a doable challenge for ICRISAT, and partnership with IOPEPC will help ICRISAT focus on key areas of intervention applicable for the peanut sector in India,” said Dr Hughes.

The visiting team shared several avenues to shorten the export value chain and establish direct connections between farmers and exporters. One successful example they cited was the short value chain for soybeans in Rajasthan and Gujarat, which has potential for replication in other crops. They also mentioned the growing popularity of e-markets as another potential avenue for connecting farmers and exporters.

The MoU signing was attended by ICRISAT staff Dr Sean Mayes, Mr Stefan De Greling, and Dr Janila Pasupuleti, and convened by ICRISAT's Product Placement Lead Dr Ashok Kumar and Mr Ramesh P Kolath, Deputy CEO, IOPEPC.

IOPEPC is recognized by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, and serves as the common forum for Indian oilseeds/vegetable oils exporters, foreign buyers, the Indian Government, R&D agencies for oilseeds and vegetable oils in India, international agencies, and many other official bodies and authorities globally.

Sunflowers - an important oil seed crop
Sunflowers - an important oil seed crop

This w.ork aligns with SDG 17
This w.ork aligns with SDG 17


Asia Institutional News Accelerated Crop Improvement
About The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a pioneering International Organization committed to developing and improving dryland farming and agri-food systems to address the challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and environmental degradation affecting the 2.1 billion people residing in the drylands of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and beyond.

ICRISAT was established under a Memorandum of Agreement between the Government of India and the CGIAR on the 28 March 1972. In accordance with the Headquarters Agreement, the Government of India has extended the status of a specified “International Organisation” to ICRISAT under section 3 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947 of the Republic of India through Extraordinary Gazette Notification No. UI/222(66)/71, dated 28 October 1972, issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

Our offices:

Asia: India (Headquarters - Hyderabad)

East and Southern Africa:  Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe

West and Central Africa: Mali, Niger, Nigeria

For all media inquiries, please email:

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
Hyderabad, Telangana, India