A review on the challenges for the increased production of oilseeds in Ethiopia
This paper presents the trends of production, utilization and export of oilseeds and import of vegetable oils; available technologies and the prospects of increasing oilseeds production in Ethiopia. The oilseed industry is faced with enormous and multidimensional challenges that brought both treats and opportunities. Sesame and castor have been always produced for export market while noug, linseed, gomenzer, groundnuts, safflower, sunflower have been raw materials for the local oilseed mills. The revenue from sesame export and the expense to import refined palm oil is almost the same but sesame is exported as raw and if consumed locally or exported as refined oil, it only constitutes about 40% the amount imported. Since 2007, the demand for vegetable oil has been more of import dependent. Even with the availability of improved varieties, cultivation techniques and pest control for higher yield per unit area, domestic oilseed production is becoming less and less competitive to cereals due to both in yield and return per unit area (particularly noug). Nevertheless, significant increase in oilseeds production can be possible from cultivation of soybean and sunflower in high rainfall and mid altitude areas and groundnut in the high rainfall and irrigated low lands. In addition, oil palm cultivation in the long growing period areas of Kaffa-Sheka Zone and some parts of Gambella region is the most sustainable avenue towards vegetable oil security. Soybean, sunflower, groundnut and oil palm are the most important oilseeds globally with established technologies that can be easily adopted. Ethiopia has also excellent genetic resources and climate for the cultivation of castor for the chemical industry. However, the use of oils from oil seeds and vegetable oils in Ethiopia as biodiesel for transportation has a bleak future.
Keywords: biodiesel, oil quality, oil palm, oilseeds, vegetable oil