Castor and Other Commodity Contracts Settlement and Delivery Period by NSEL

In July, the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) announced  that it will not offer contracts where settlement and delivery of commodities is done beyond 11 days, a move that came after the Centre ordered the bourse not to launch new contracts following violation of certain rules.

Earlier in July , the Consumer Affairs Ministry had asked the exchange not to launch any new contracts till further instructions and also sought undertaking from the NSEL in this regard.

NSEL reduces delivery, payment and settlement period of all contracts traded on the exchange to less than 11 days (T+10 or less), wherever settlement schedule was extending beyond 11 days,” the exchange said in a statement.

The exchange has banned ‘intra—day trading and intra—day squaring off of transactions’ It means every trade executed in all existing contracts (such as e-gold, e-silver, e-copper, e-zinc, e-lead, e-nickel and e-platinum) will result into delivery.

Besides, the exchange “also strictly prohibited short sale,” the statement said. Short-selling is the sale of commodities that one does not own at the time of a contract with the hope of buying them at a lower price before the delivery time.

In existing contracts, such as castor kadi and castor oil, the funds and commodity settlement will take place after two days.

NSEL, which has seen huge drop in turnover following the government orders, has decided to reduce the cost of transaction for all contracts by whooping 80 per cent to boost volumes on its platform.

“The cumulative cost of transaction, delivery and warehouse receipt transfer was earlier Rs 100 per 1 lakh of turnover, which has been brought down to Rs 20 per Rs 1 lakh of turnover,” the statement said.

Last year, the Consumer Affairs Ministry had issued a show—cause notice to Financial Technologies—promoted NSEL after it found violation of some conditions set by the government for operating the exchange.

NSEL had allowed short sales by members and offered contracts for delivery exceeding 11 days.


India: NK Proteins Conflict of Interest Issues Being Looked At

In India, the ministry of consumer affairs is looking into the alleged conflict of interest issues and claims of huge castor seed and cottonseed oil stocks, in NK Proteins, a key debtor of beleaguered National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL).

NK Proteins, run by relatives of NSEL chairman , owes the exchange around Rs 930 crore. According to the latest stock position filed by the exchange on August 6, the company had 7,553 tonnes of castor oil, 96,581 tonnes of castor seed and 84,766 tonnes of cotton wash oil.

The ministry has received complaints from people who claimed to have visited the facilities of the company. They say the storage capacity of NK Proteins, which makes the Tirupati brand of cooking oils, “is far less than what is claimed.

NK Proteins is one of the 13 processors which have sought 20 weeks’ time to settle the dues with NSEL. Last week, NSEL said that here are 13 members/ processors, who have offered to pay five per cent of their total dues every week, if the same is agreed upon. Total amount comes to Rs 3,107 crore approximately.”

NK Proteins’ dues amounted to 25 per cent of this lot and 16 percent of the overall due of Rs 5,500 crore.

“The complaint also raised the issue of whether indeed there was stock and why do the processors need five months. The commodities can be easily sold within a month. In the worst case scenario, they would face a loss in price difference only was the argument put out by complainants,” the ministry officials said.

It would be extremely naïve on NSEL’s part to have had the confidence of storing such a huge quantity of stock within the premises of NK Proteins, the complainants are said to have suggested.

“Anyone who has visited the factory will laugh on hearing that there is a stock of 84,766 tonnes of cottonseed oil in there. This is because the total storage capacity of this factory is just 5,000 tonnes, let alone two tanks which NSEL claims to be storing this stock,” one of the complaints said.

According to the NSEL stock position dated August 6, the cotton oil stock, which is worth Rs 530.63 crore, was stored in two tanks in an NK Proteins facility in Thor in Mehasana district of Gujarat. NK Proteins officials were not available for comment.


Castor Oil for Biodiesel – Global Initiatives

While castor oil is unlikely to be a significant contributor to the biodiesel industry in the next 3-5 years owing to its high cost and low production volumes, in specific cases and regions it could play a limited role as a biodiesel feedstock. This blog summarizes some of the initiatives that are being taken in order to explore the viability of castor oil as a biodiesel feedstock.

  • In January 2012, Israel-based plant breeding company, Evogene Ltd (, launched a wholly owned subsidiary, Evofuel Ltd., to accelerate the development and commercialization of castor bean varieties in Brazil for biodiesel and biojet fuel production. Evofuel, then entered into an a collaboration with T6 industrial  to develop castor bean varieties and evaluate them under rain fed conditions as an effective drought tolerant and oil yielding crop in Argentina. Earlier, in 2010, Evogene Ltd. conducted a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of biodiesel production from castor bean varieties. Results showed that Evogene’s castor bean biodiesel
    • Reduces net GHG emissions by 90% in the U.S. and more than 75% in Brazil compared with conventional diesel, if grown in non-arable or marginal land.
    • Exceeds the GHG savings achieved with soybean biodiesel, with reductions for the U.S. of 43% compared to soybean.
  • The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica ( along with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI, ) launched a pilot project in 2011 to trial biodiesel production from castor oil and Jatropha. The research and development phase of the project will involve the cultivation and harvesting of six varieties of the oil nuts, to determine their oil content, harvesting potential and relative productivity.  The oil nuts will be cultivated on mined-out bauxite lands between April, 2011 and March, 2014.
  • In 2012, Rokim Group Limited ( based in Kenya, started growing hybrid castor beans for the production of high grade bio diesel for the utilization in road transport, power generation and industrial sector in Kenya.
  • In Nov 2012, Mexican researchers at the University of Puebla (BUAP) have begun experimenting with biodiesel production from castor oil, fuel that will later be used to run the university’s transport system. The pilot plant under development will produce up to 72,000 liters of biodiesel daily.
  • In India, the Center for Jatropha Promotion, CJP ( is researching farming castor in conjunction with the Pongamia Pinnata and Indian Mustard.
  • Israeli NGO, KerenHayesod – United Israel Appeal                         ( ) along with the National government has set up castor bean enhancement program which involves crop improvement in castor to achieve better yields of seed and oil for its subsequent use as a feedstock in industrial production of biodiesel. It will be carried by six senior scientists, specialized six different principles of agriculture including biotechnology and the project cost is estimated to be US$ 300,000.
  • Three Israeli companies – alternative energy company Ormat (, plant breeding company Evogene (, and the real estate developer the Lev Leviev Group ( signed an agreement, in 2008, to produce biodiesel from castor oil. Leviev already owns mining concessions in Nambia, where the biofuel will be harvested, Ormat’s subsidary Orfuel has substantial experience in biofuel R&D, and Evogene is a leading company in plant genetics and breeding.
  • Petrobras Biocombustível ( is producing biodiesel from castor beans. Petrobras’s fuel was obtained with a blend of 30% castor bean oil and 70% sunflower seed oil, both produced by farmers who participate in the company’s oleaginous plant supply programs.  The company made its first delivery of biodiesel containing a blend of bean oil in its composition in November 2009.


Castor Oil Research, Production and Challenges – A Review

In this article, castor historical research information is compiled and  the tremendous future potential of the plant is studied.Topics discussed in this review include: (i) germplasm, genetics, breeding, biotic stresses, genomesequencing, and biotechnology; (ii) agronomic production practices, diseases, and abiotic stresses; (iii) management and reduction of toxins for the use of castor meal as both an animal feed and an organic fertilizer; (iv) future industrial uses of castor including renewable fuels; (v) world production, consumption, and prices; and (vi) potential and challenges for increased castor production.

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NCDEX Castor Seed Surges Ahead on Global Cues

Castor seed prices at India’s National Commodities and Derivative Exchange (NCDEX) was up by 1.86%. Castor Seed for September delivery is  trading around Rs 3373-3470 per qtl levels.

Record production in India in 2012-’13 and rise in production in Brazil and China has impacted castor seed prices. Oil demand remains firm in spot markets has capped further fall in castor seed prices.

On the 5th of August, Castor seed rose to a high of 3470 Rs/qtl at 12.11 pm IST and is expected to trade positive in the near term . Support is at 3450, 3430 levels and resistance at 3516 & 3530.

Positive reports from Rajkot spot witnessed recovery in castor seed future prices.  NCDEX expects castor seed to trade with bullish bias.

Source: NCDEX

Nylon Yarns from Castor

Chemical company Radici Chimica SPA of Novara, Italy, has developed a polymer partially manufactured from sebacic acid, a biological source obtained from castor oil seeds. Its sister company, Radici Yarn, recently introduced a new nylon yarn, Radilon 6.10, made of the renewable source polymer, giving the yarn a high degree of sustainability and performance. The yarn offers fabric applications a number of other advantages, such as comfort, light weight, less water absorption and colorfastness.

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Crop Estimation for Castor seeds in India: 2012-13

The latest crop survey report released by the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA)

  • Estimated total production of castor seeds in India for the year 2012-13 is 11.40 lakh tonnes , down 27% from the last year.
  • Total area under Castor crop in India for the year 2012-13 is 10.96 lakh hectares. It has decreased by 5% as compared to the previous year.
  • Average yield for the year 2012-13 is1043 kg/hectareas against 1373 kg/hectare during the year2012-13. It has decreased by 19% as compared to the previous year.
Here is the link  to the article which details the survey results of castor crop  carried out in major districts of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh –
Sources say that the lower yield due to inadequate water availability has affected the castor crop prospects in India.
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Biodegradable Plastics – Market and Development Trends

According to the European Bioplastics Association, the global capacity of biodegradable plastics increased from 514,000 t/a in 2011 to 637,000 t/a in 2012, a increase of 28.39%. It is estimated that the global production capacity of biodegradable plastic will reach 776,000 t/a in 2013 and may reach 1,646,000 t/a by 2016. Meanwhile, the market demand for biodegradable plastics rises year by year and its growth rate is always seen higher than that of the production capacity.

Sources quote three main reasons from this rapid development of biodegradable plastic market:
1. Considerable increase in the amount of biodegradable plastics used in the general products.
2. The application scope of biodegradable plastics expanded from general products to durable products.
3. Using non-grain raw materials to produce biodegradable plastics

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Castor Bean Genome Sequence

This post discusses about a castor bean genome research published in 2010 by the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) and the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS), University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Because of the potential use of castor bean as a biofuel and its production of the potent toxin ricin, the team focused efforts on genes related to oil and ricin production. They analyzed important metabolic pathways and regulatory genes involved in the production and storage of oils in the castor bean.The analyses could be important for comparative studies with other oilseed crops, and could also allow for genetic engineering of castor bean to produce oil without ricin.

Researchers sequenced and assembled a 4X draft of the ~400 Mbp castor bean genome using a whole genome shotgun strategy. In addition, ~50,000 ESTs from different tissues have been produced to help gene discovery and annotation. The results of their work showed that the castor genome is 350 Mb and has an estimated 31,237 genes. The team also discovered that the ricin gene family was larger than previously thought, and they revealed approximately 28 genes in the ricin producing family.

Preliminary comparisons between castor bean genes and ESTs from other available Euphorbiaceae species, showed that cassava shares the highest sequence similarity with castor bean.

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Castor Genetic Resources: A Primary Gene Pool for Exploitation

Castor  is grown across the world in tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperate regions. Vast castor germplasm collections are being conserved in more than 50 genebanks across the world. But consolidated reports on their status and value are not available to tap their potential. Utilization of vast global germplasm could only be enhanced when the information on germplasm is shared and seed are exchanged.

This review ( provides information on current status of global castor collections and an overall view of potential of these collections besides highlighting the challenges and opportunities facing germplasm.