Castor oil is one of the most in-demand and versatile oils used industrially and pharmaceutically.
Every year, the world’s production of castor oil amounts to a million metric tons. Obtained from castor bean seeds, the oil is used as a vital raw material or component in diverse kinds of products.
Commercially, castor oil has vast applications in several industries, which include bio-diesel, chemical and manufacturing fields to name a few. Because of its economic benefits and myriads of uses, castor seed is currently being produced in not less than 30 countries in the world.
Distribution of Castor Oil Production
Principal producers of castor oil are India and Brazil, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Their combined production makes up about 90% of the annual world production of castor oil.
Other producers of this nonvolatile oil from castor plant include the following countries:
China, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Costa Rica, Romania, Ecuador, Pakistan, Thailand, Philippines, Paraguay, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Mexico.
In 2000, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FA0) reported that the world’s production of castor oil totaled to 1,227,669 metric tons.
Most of the companies responsible for the global production of castor oil belong to the International Castor Oil Association (ICOA), an organization whose members grow, process, trade, market and consume castor oil. Based on the group’s website, ICOA strives to create new applications and derivatives for castor oil.
Cultivation of Castor Plant
Castor oil plant was originally grown in Africa and India. But over the years, it has been planted in many temperate regions all over the world.
The plant is considered a vigorous annual, which may grow from 2 to 5 meters every season as long as it is exposed to adequate sunlight, moisture and heat.
As a commercial crop, castor oil plants actually grow best in areas of high temperature and low humidity. Hence, they are often produced in tropical countries where climates are warmer.
Castor Oil Plant’s Market Demand
The castor crop is very attractive to industries because it has these characteristics:
- Can be easily planted in rich fields, upland, hillside, river beds, stream banks, salted land, and even in marginal lands
- Resistant to drought
- Requires low soil fertility
- Contains valuable oil properties
- Produces satisfactory yields after a short period (about 140 to 160 days)
These qualities are the reasons why castor oil plant production is expanding worldwide. With its many advantages and commercial uses, there is no doubt why castor oil commands high demand in the international market. For sure, this demand will only grow higher as the uses of castor oil continue to increase year after year.
Do you want to know more information related to castor oil? Check out the next article -> How Much Castor Oil Should I Take?
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