Govt should incentivise farmers to grow camelina oilseed crop: WealthPK

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ISLAMABAD: The government has been asked to promote the production of camelina oilseed crop in Pakistan by incentivising the farmers and creating awareness among them about its importance.
Camelina oil is being used as a biofuel worldwide. Camelina is a little annual plant with pale yellow flowers that grows to a height of about one to three feet. It turns woody as it matures with arrow-like leaves about three inches long with pointy and sharp tips. The seed pod resembles a little pea in form and size. The seed is quite small as one pod can contain approximately 400,000 seeds.
Scientists are currently working on creating environment-friendly gasoline to tackle the challenges of climate change and natural resource depletion caused by the excessive use of fuel and diesel oils.
They’ve also had success producing biofuel from a variety of vegetable oils, including linseed, canola, and soybean. The mineral fuel is being replaced by biodiesel, a biofuel. It produces no hazardous materials, such as lead, and is a biodegradable fuel. Vegetable oil and other renewable resources such as fats and grease are used to make it. Because biodiesel is less expensive than mineral fuel, fleet vehicle owners (trucks, school buses, and military vehicles) are opting for it. Its use does not necessitate any engine modifications.
Dr. Fazal Yazdan, a senior scientific officer at the National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC), told WealthPK that biodiesel could be used not only for biodiesel engines, but also for diesel generators, as a lubricant, in homes for warmth, and for the removal of asphalt and paint. “As the world population grows, so does the demand for fuel, which is drawing people to biofuel. It produces less smoke than other fuels and is therefore environmentally beneficial. It emits fewer pollutants into the atmosphere as can monoxide and hydrocarbons. As a result, its use is environment-friendly and reduces the risk of cancer caused by diesel emissions by 94%. It reduces the amount of greenhouse gases by roughly 80%,” explained the NARC scientist.
Fazal Yazdan said camelina possessed various distinguishing characteristics that made it ideal for this task.
“Its seed is small and has low water content, therefore it can be stored for a long time and used more efficiently during the oil extraction process than other oilseeds. It can tolerate drought conditions and has a higher water and fertiliser efficiency than other oilseed crops. It can compete with weeds, requiring fewer weedicides.”
“Camelina oil has a small market at the moment due to a lack of understanding among farmers and customers about its benefits. Because it is a low-input crop, it will appeal to a large number of growers due to the appealing premium aspect of the products,” he maintained, further explaining that camelina will be a good low-input crop for biofuel production in the future because it requires less nitrogen and is drought-resistant. “Depending on weather circumstances, camelina can be planted alongside canola in the rabi season. With a crop duration of 80 to 100 days and a seed rate of three to four kilogrammes per acre, we may roughly compare it to canola because the camelina is likewise a member of the Brassicaceae family. Camelina crop seed yields range from 2,500 to 2,800 kilogrammes per acre, depending on the variety,” Fazal Yazdan further explained.
When compared to canola, which is a widely-produced oilseed in Pakistan, camelina has a higher oil efficiency, said the NARC scientist. “Camelina seeds contain about 38% to 45% edible oil, which is superior to canola and Raya oils in terms of quality. It contains modest levels of erucic and linoleic acids and up to 45% of omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical for human nutrition. It also contains 27-32% protein, making it ideal for human consumption, as well as trace levels of antioxidants such as topopherols and vitamin-E. It has also been discovered that it is oxidation and rancidity-resistant.”