On alternative of soybean oil
Public life is becoming stagnant due to skyrocketing prices of daily commodities.
Soybean oil - one of the most widely used and cheapest cooking oil in the world has been selling for Tk200 per litre in Bangladesh for weeks and now demand has completely outstripped supply.
Most kitchen markets and supermarkets have completely run out and cannot say when shelves will be restocked.
Sellers at many kitchen markets in Dhaka say that wholesalers have not supplied soybean oil to retailers yet because they have not received their shipment from the importers.
Soybean oil originated in China but is now cultivated internationally and is one of the most important vegetable oils in terms of the quantity produced and utilised in the production of industrial resins. It is edible semi-drying oil.
Bangladesh has a huge potential for cultivating substitute oil of soybean oil. If this is produced, the country's market stability will return. The black market with soybean oil will come down. As a result, there will be no crisis of edible oil in the country's market.
Mustard oil: Mustard oil comes from the seeds of mustard plants. It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which appear to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease.
Mustard oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which could mean that it benefits cardiovascular health. It also contains a compound that may have anti-inflammatory properties.
An India-based commodity market research firm - Mordor Intelligence - recently conducted two studies on mustard oil markets, in which it was noted that Bangladesh has been witnessing decent growth in demand for mustard oil. The studies also forecast a 5.6-5.8% growth for the country until at least 2027.
"During the post-lockdown period, there has been a significant shift in food consumption patterns. Dining out became much less popular, and people began to prefer home-cooked meals by experimenting with new recipes. As a result, demand for household edible oil packs such as mustard oil increased."
At present about 0.24 million hectares of land are put to mustard cultivation in Bangladesh with yield of mustard oil in the order of 0.19 million m tons per year. This quantity meets only a fraction of the country's cooking oil needs.
Therefore, large quantity of soybean and sunflower oil is to be imported. Imported soybean oil is cheaper than local mustard oil, which has been further reducing mustard acreage in the country.
Coconut oil: In asian countries, coconut oil is used only for hair care. But this oil is also used for cooking in many countries. Sri Lankan people use it for cooking. Coconut oil works great in digesting food and increasing body strength fast. It also helps in weight control. It is also used for baking items like cake and cookies.
However, coconut oil is high in saturated fat. So it should be eaten with control.
The government has to take initiative of distributing short and high-yielding coconut plants to farmers as exotic variety produces 200 coconuts a year compared to local variety's 50-60 coconuts.
Local variety takes 8-10 years to bear fruit, but the short and high-yielding coconut variety will give fruit within three years.
Canola oil: Canola oil is one of the healthiest cooking oils available, with zero trans fat and the lowest amount of saturated fat of all common cooking oils. And because canola oil is so versatile and affordable, it's ideal for making a wide range of healthy foods, both at home and on a commercial scale.
Canola oil comes from the seeds of the canola plant, one of the most widely grown crops in Canada. After harvesting, canola seeds are crushed to release the canola oil.
Canola oil is high in unsaturated fats and has the lowest amount of saturated fat among the common cooking oils. It contains high amounts of oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat) and alpha-linolenic acid (the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid).
Many clinical trials have shown that canola oil has health benefits when used instead of other fat sources. Canola oil is eligible to carry a qualified health claim from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its ability to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when used in place of saturated fat in the diet.
Like most crops, canola has many other uses beyond food. Canola oil is used to make environmentally friendly inks, lubricants, soaps, paints, plastics and cosmetics. Oils from olives, corn, soybeans and flax are often used for these same industrial purposes.
One of the newest uses for canola is as a feedstock for making renewable fuels. Canola is increasingly used to produce low-carbon biodiesel, which has the potential to greatly reduce greenhouse gases.
Sunflower oil: Sunflower oil is the non-volatile oil pressed from the seeds of the sunflower. Sunflower oil is commonly used in food as frying oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient.
One bigha of land costs Tk 10 to 12 thousand to cultivate sunflower. The income from the produced seeds is Tk 40 to 45 thousand. Sunflower trees can also be used as fuel.
Olive oil: Olive oil is oil pressed from olives. Its use dates back 6,000 years, originating in what are now Iran, Syria, and Palestine, before making its way to the Mediterranean, with its well-known olive groves.
Oils of varying characteristics and qualities are produced by almost every country that grows olives, the variations depending on the district and the ripeness of the fruit.
Pure olive oil is used largely for culinary purposes and in the preservation of foods, particularly canned fish.
It is also used in the textile industry for wool combing, in the manufacture of toilet preparations and cosmetics, in the pharmaceutical industry for medicinal purposes, in the manufacture of high-quality castile soap, and as a lubricant.
The ripe olive fruit with the pit removed contains 20 to 30 percent oil, depending on the climate and care in cultivation.
In Bangladesh, olive is used to make pickles or as a souring agent. Although a huge quantity of olive oil is imported, there has been no effort to produce it in the country. If the olive grown in the country is used to make oil, foreign exchange can be saved and the country can become self-sufficient in olive oil.
Sesame oil: Sesame oil is cooking oil made from sesame seeds that is popular in Asian cooking. There are a few varieties made with pressed plain seeds or toasted seeds, and they are used in different ways in Chinese, Japanese, South Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisine. Light sesame oil is typically used as neutral cooking oil, while toasted sesame oil is used as a flavoring in sauces, soups, and other dishes.
In Bangladesh it can be cultivated in almost all districts.
Fruits are generally four or more chambered capsules. Each plant produces 50 to 70 capsules and there may be 55 to 70 seeds in each capsule. The black or brown coloured seeds mature in 90 to 100 days. Seeds contain 42-45% oil and 20% protein. Average sesame yield in Bangladesh is about 957 kg per ha.
Currently, about 38,923 ha of land are under sesame cultivation and annual production is about 37,260 m tons. Sesame is cultivated in both kharif and autumn seasons, but two-third sesame is produced in kharif season. High land with sandy loam is best suited for sesame cultivation.
Soybean oil is versatile oil, but considering the current situation, alternative oil production should be given importance.
The government has to take appropriate steps for the welfare of the people. Alternative soybean oil production has to be increased in the country. This will reduce the import cost of the country. In this case, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture must come forward.
Junaed Khan, Department of History, University of Chittagong