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Imports of Edible Oil Fell by 27% in February

During the months of November to February 2020-21, total vegetable oil imports fell by 3.7 percent

Chintu Das
Oil Imports
Oil Imports

The import of edible oils seems to have been affected by unsustainable imports of crude palm oil (CPO) in the preceding 2 months, as well as premium prices of soft oils such as sunflower. In February 2021, edible oil imports fell by 26.89 %, and 3.85 % during the first five months of the oil season 2020-21.

As per the data collected by India's Solvent Extractors' Association (SEA), the nation imported 796,568 tons of edible oil in February 2021, compared to 1,089,661 tons in February 2020, and 4,454,588 tons between November and February 2020-21, compared to 4,282,693 tons between November-February 2019-20.

The CIF value for sunflower oil is currently $1,765 per tonne, according to BV Mehta, Executive Director of SEA of India. He described it as the maximum in the last 13 years, adding that sunflower oil imports have now dropped dramatically.

In February, the typical CIF price of imported crude sunflower oil was $1,400 per tonne, up from $1,319 in January. Between November till February 2020-21, 7,70,364 tonnes of sunflower oil is imported (9,89,565 tonnes between November and February of 2019-20).

During the months of December and January, he added, there was an influx of palm oil imports. As a consequence, the industry has a supply of this product. In December, the nation imported 7,70,392 tons of palm oil, and in January, it imported 7,80,741 tons. In February, indeed, it only imported 3,94,495 tons of palm oil.

“Seeing as rates have risen sharply, people are running with the minimum stock. Previously, they will procure edible oil and hold it in storage for 20-30 days,” Mehta stated, noting that the price increase of edible oil is lowering usage.


When asked whether total imports would rise in the upcoming months, he reported that the nation imported 13.2 million tonnes of vegetable oils in the previous oil year. He projected that the country's imports will be at or below that amount this year.

He contributed this to the country's strong soyabean and groundnut crops this year, as well as the anticipation of a healthy mustard harvest. “As a result, local oil availability is expected to rise by around 1-1.5 million tonnes this year. Demand is squeezing due to the Covid and the high price,” he said.

Farmers profit from the hefty price. Currently, the price of soyabean is around 5,350 per quintal, compared to the MSP of 3,880, and RM seed is around 5,800 per quintal, compared to the MSP of 4,650. As a result, farmers are now having the best deal, he added.

Complete Vegetable Oil Import: (SEA of India: Source)

Data from SEA of India shows that in February 2021, the import of vegetable oils including edible and non-edible oils was 8,38,607 tonnes, down 25 percent from 1,112,478 tonnes in February 2020. Between November and February 2020-21, total imports of vegetable oils totaled 4,394,760 tons, down 3.7 % from 4,563,791 tons the previous year.

Vegetable oils imports (in tons) in February:

For 2021:

Edible Oil Import: 796568

Non-Edible Oil Import: 42039

Total of Vegetable Oil: 838607

For 2020:

Edible Oil Import: 1089661

Non-Edible Oil Import: 22817

Total of Vegetable Oil: 1112478

Edible oil imports (in tons):

Between November and February 2020-21:

Palm oil: 2564096

Soybean oil: 948233

Sunflower oil: 770364

Between November and February 2019-20:

Palm oil: 2549127

Soybean oil: 915896

Sunflower oil: 989565

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