The diverse agro-ecological conditions in the country are favourable for growing nine annual oilseed crops, which include seven edible oilseeds (groundnut, rapeseed & mustard, soybean, sunflower, sesame, safflower and niger) and two non-edible oilseeds (castor and linseed) and several perennial oil bearing tree crops. In addition, oilseeds of tree and forest origin, which grow mostly in tribal inhabited areas contribute significantly as minor source of oil. Among the non-conventional oils, rice bran oil and cottonseed oil are also important. Presently, annual oilseeds are grown on an area of 25.7 m.ha with 26.7 m.t production and productivity of 1037 kg /ha for the quinquennium ending 2014-15.India are one of the major oilseeds grower and importer of edible oils. India’s vegetable oil economy is world’s fourth largest after USA, China & Brazil. In India, oilseeds follow cereals, sharing 14% of the country's gross cropped area and accounting for nearly 3% of the gross domestic product and 5.98% of the value of all agricultural products. Despite being the largest cultivator of oilseeds in the world, India imports about 50% of its requirements owing to the life style changes in dietary pattern and increasing per capita income.

These oilseed crops are widely distributed in various agro-ecological niches of the country. Researchers, developmental agencies, policy makers and industries are making concerted efforts to increase oilseed production in the country. To support and sustain their efforts and to have exchange of scientific information and ideas a strong need was felt for initiating a scientific society of oilseeds for bringing together all the relevant stakeholders viz., organizations and institutions interested in or engaged in research, development, technology, processing and allied products connected with oilseed sector. In the AICRP workshop on oilseed crops held in 1982 at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, the oilseed researchers group proposed to form a scientific society. Accordingly, the Indian Society of Oilseeds Research (ISOR) was launched and got registered in the office of the Registrar of Societies, Hyderabad on 14th December, 1983 (Registration No.2049) under the Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Area) Public Societies Registration Act 1350 Fasli (Act I of 1350F).