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Castor Seeds are obtained from Castor plant, a small annual plant. Castor is botanically called ricinus communis which belongs to Euphorbiaceae family. Castor is widely cultivated for its seeds.
Castor is domestically found in Eastern Africa especially Ethiopia, and India. However, it is grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions under various climatic conditions. Castor plant has green and purple-colored twigs with large leaves.
Castor is a prominent commodity and a major commercial crop in the world. Castor oil and its by products are used in soaps, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, perfumes, greases and lubricants.
NPH-1, GAUCH-4, YRCH1, TMV 5, TMV 6, CO1, TMVCH are the high yielding Castor Seeds varieties available in India. The varieties of castor differ from duration of cultivation, oil content, stem color, suitability, nature and quality of capsules, and size of seeds.
Castor Oil is obtained by extracting Castor Seeds. It contains about 40% to 60% of oil, which is rich in triglycerides, especially ricinolein and ricin. Castor oil is used for moisturizing skin, helps in bowel movements, increases immunity and acts as a laxative.
Moderately fertile, with slightly acidic conditions, well drained, sandy loams soil is most suitable for castor cultivation.
Castor Seeds are brown in color, glassy and oval shaped. They look very attractive, but are highly poisonous due to the presence of ricin. Castor seed consumption can cause death in humans and animals.
India is the largest producer of Castor Seeds in the world. Gujarat is the largest producer, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The others major Castor Seeds producing nations are China, Brazil, Russia, Thailand, Ethiopia and Philippines.
Major Castor Seeds exporting countries are Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Nigeria and Italy.
Taiwan, France, Japan, China, Thailand, Korea, Netherland, USA are the major importing nations of Castor Seeds.
Local trading hubs for Castor Seeds in India are:
Gujarat (Disa, Palanpur, Patan, Dhanera, Sidpur, Gandhinagar, kadi, Kutch, Mehsana)
Andhra Pradesh (Mahboobnagar, Nalgonda and Rangareddi)
Castor Seed is traded in the commodity futures market at the National Multi Commodity Exchange (NMCE) in India.