The Indian government has launched a campaign to boost oilseed production and reduce imports of cooking oil, The Economic Times reported Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda as saying.

According to an official statement, Munda said India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had placed special emphasis on the development of the country’s Northeastern region.

The government is working towards making the country a developed nation by 2047, in which agriculture would play an important role, Munda added.

A total of US$1.32M (Rs 11,000 crore) had been allocated to the programme to reduce edible oil imports and become self-reliant in oilseeds, the 4 March report said.

India imports about 16M tonnes/year of edible oils to meet domestic demand and imported edible oils worth about US$236bn (Rs 1.38 lakh crore) in 2022-23 (November-October).

The development of climate-resilient crop varieties was also important, Munda added.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary urged scientists to exploit the Northeast region’s natural diversity and said the focus should be on pulses and oilseeds to reduce the country’s expenditure on imports, The Economic Times wrote.