Yellow Revolution in India

Yellow Revolution is spectacularly increased in the production of oil to achieve self-reliance mostly due to the use of hybrid seeds like mustard and improved technology for oil production. It marked the beginning of an entirely new era with floating sunflowers in fields of Punjab and also exceptionally created many opportunities and openings which also helped in covering socio-economic differences in the country. In India, the increase in oil production was mainly because of an increase in sesame and mustard oil due to the use of hybrid seeds. It was first launched in 1986-87 in India with the total production of about 12 million tons. Which nearly doubled in ten years to about 24 million tons. In 1996-97 hence achieving self-sufficiency in oil production but sadly the current output of India does not meet its current consumption. So, to meet the demand, India imports about 5 million tonnes in 2007 from many countries like Argentina, Malaysia, Brazil, etc. In other words, in about a decade India transformed from a ‘self-sufficient’ to a ‘net exporter’ which can be seen through the stats above.

Yellow Revolution in India

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Yellow Revolution

To achieve the yellow revolution Oil Technological Mission was launched in 1986 in India. Along with the use of the hybrid seed, various other measures were also used. There was an increase in agro land to about 26 million hectares along with the use of modern technological inputs. Providing incentives to farmers like warehousing, transportation, minimum support price, and other processing facilities (like fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, etc.). Many boards were entrusted with responsibilities to promote oilseed production like The National Dairy Board was given the responsibility to increase the production of groundnut oil in Gujarat, the National Oilseeds and Vegetable Oils Development Board was given the task to increase the production of oilseeds in non-traditional areas. To popularize the four major oilseeds — groundnut, mustard, soybean, and sunflower, a project called oilseeds production thrust was established. There were about 3000 oilseed societies established with 13 lac farmers and 25 hectares of cultivable land in a different state of the country.

In mid-nineties, for more than 15 years the oil production was very low and pretty stagnant, and the production lagged the demand. So, to bridge the gap between supply and demand The Government of India formed the Technology Mission on Oilseeds in May 1986, intending to make India self-sufficient in terms of oil and also to create an environment which facilitates its production in the country like storage. The target of nine annual oilseeds – groundnut, rapeseed-mustard, soybean, sunflower, safflower, sesame, niger, linseed, and castor was set to be 16 million tonnes along with substantially cut down in the imports by the year 1990.

All the strategies were stated and set before the starting of the mission in February 1986, which was also said in the speech by the then Prime Minister. He also believed one of the problems in the agricultural sector faced by India than was the production of oilseeds and therefore a thrust Mission for oilseeds production was set up. He said that this mission starts from the engineering of the seeds to finishing with the finished products of the vegetable oil so that it could be delivered to the consumer.

This mission became successful with the help of many Govt. departments, namely, Health, Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Agriculture and Cooperation, Commerce, Science and Technology, Biotechnology, Irrigation, and Economic Affairs, etc.


Even though there were various natural factors like moisture and nutrient lacking soil in some parts of the country yet due to excellent planning and execution of the mission, the country’s production of vegetable oil increased.


The yellow revolution not only led to increasing in oil production but also the mission led to other significant developments which are an improvement in production technology of oilseeds, minimum price support policy and relative increase in agro land.


Oilseed production in 2008-09 was about 28 million tonnes which are not in equilibrium to about 45 million tonnes of consumption. There was a significant fall in production of oil in the next two years that is 2009-10 due to failure of monsoon, and therefore there was a decrease in production to about 25 million tonnes. India is the fourth largest edible oil-consuming country with producing only 7.4 percent of the world’s oil production. Though the country is the largest producer of castor oil and sesame and second largest Producer of groundnut and rapeseed-mustard oil, yet, there is a large gap between the supply-demand. Despite continuous efforts being to bring India again to be self-sufficient, no significant improvement can be observed. Although the same approaches are used, that were used to bring the first yellow revolution earlier in India, yet it cannot be achieved because of various other factors affecting it in modern India. The rising demand of edible oil in India, which is due to continually increasing Indian population and also because Indian food uses oil, leading to an increase in its consumption of 127 lac tonnes every year. Also, there is a need for change in certain approaches. The energy-rich crops like palm oil suffer from several problems and limitations like growing them in the poor environment along with pests and various plant diseases leading to their destruction. Also, it is observed that farmers prefer to grow higher profit yielding crops because humans are rational and work for their benefits, leading to a decrease in its production. Hence, there is a need to provide the incentives to farmers that promote its production so that India once again can experience yellow revolution.


Like any other crop, oilseeds are also important as they meet the country’s needs for edible oil. Hence, India is in dire need of a second yellow revolution. Also, a technical breakthrough is needed to increase productivity and farm income through dry land farming.


Second yellow revolution is the need of the hour not only because it’s important to fulfill the requirement of edible oil but also because its impact can be seen on agriculture and the overall economy of the country which will also help in reducing India’s imports.

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