Edible oil is a necessary food item in Pakistan, and it is imported from Malaysia and Indonesia to fulfil 80 percent to 90 percent of the country’s total requirement.
Safflower is a well-known and important oil seed crop around the world. Because of its nutritional qualities, the oil derived from this crop can be exported. Because safflower is particularly helpful to human health, it is used as an edible oil and in medications all over the world.
Edible oil is a necessary food item in Pakistan, and it is imported from Malaysia and Indonesia to fulfil 80 percent to 90 percent of the country’s total requirement. About 2.5 million tonnes of cooking oil will be transported from Indonesia to Pakistan. There are 5 MMT of edible oils consumed locally in Pakistan, of which 1.5 MMT (30%) are produced domestically. Revenue from the edible oil industry is anticipated to reach USD 1.51 billion in 2023.
Several oil seed crops are grown in Pakistan primarily as a source of edible oil. For a very long time, the three most extensively produced crops have been rapeseed, peanut, and sesame, which are now being replaced by soybean, safflower, and sunflower due to the following reasons:
Rapeseed oil includes a high concentration of erucic acid, which is toxic to humans if consumed in large quantities. Prolonged application of mustard oil to the skin might be harmful, creating small to large blisters. Excessive usage of this oil can lead to coryza (a condition in which mucous membranes become inflamed).
While increased peanut oil consumption can cause a rise in calories, which can lead to weight gain. More frequent usage of this oil causes adverse effects and raises LDL cholesterol. Peanut and sesame oil consumption in excess can also lead to obesity due to their high calorie content. It has the potential to have a significant impact on blood sugar levels and blood pressure in humans.
Sunflower oil is abundant in omega-6 fatty acids, which are hazardous to your health despite its low oleic acid content. According to research, sunflower oil emits a considerable amount of hazardous aldehyde vapors when it is exposed to high temperatures for an extended period. It may induce digestive tissue damage, skin sensitivities, and mouth dryness.
Safflower is also suitable for animal feed due to its high oil content and flexible seed coating. Feed made from safflower seed is a warranty for increased milk production and the health of milking animals, while it also has a high nutritional value in the poultry business.
Its applications include reducing obesity, maintaining glucose levels in the blood, reducing cholesterol levels in the body, and improving the arteries of the heart.
Apart from this, it is useful in reducing the external inflammation of the body. In this modern era of vast fast-food industries, its oil is beneficial for cooking at high temperatures or cooking for a long time at high temperatures.
Since safflower oil contains omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids, it helps keep blood sugar levels in the human body healthy. Safflower sepals are in high demand on the global market because they are used to flavour food. Carthamin, a red pigment found in the sepals of this plant, is used to produce various colors, while the sepals are also used to produce green tea.
Safflower is an annual plant of the asteraceae. Safflower seeds are oval-shaped, white in color and have a shiny look. Plants have a height range of 0.3–0.5 metres.
Its large root system includes a thick, fleshy taproot that extends 2-3 meters into the ground and thin, lateral roots that develop into the top 30 cm of the soil. Commercial cultivation is done to produce vegetable oil from the seeds.
In safflower seeds, oil contents range from 24% to 37% along with 15% to 17% protein, which is an important food ingredient.
Additionally, safflower also contains copper, tryptophan, vitamin B1, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, isoleucine, histidine, iron, zinc, threonine, and folate.
Safflower is regarded as a low-maintenance crop with minimal production costs. It produces a high yield in harsh conditions like high temperatures, less fertile soil, frost, and poor watering. As a result, it may be grown in extreme climatic conditions such as cold, desert locations, and saline soils. Additionally, safflower will be a profitable crop for addressing climate change.
Safflower should be promoted at the national level based on all of its qualities. As a result, every farmer can cultivate it for maximum profit to meet our oil needs.
As previously stated, safflower has numerous applications in pharmaceuticals, the food sector, lubricants, paints, pigments, and animal feed. It may be grown on every type of land, including those with salinity or drought. By planting safflower, the country can save billions of rupees on edible oil imports.