1. Commodity News

Rise in the Cost of Edible Oil Imports Seek Implementation of Oilseeds Mission

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
Edible Oils
Edible Oil

Solvent Extractors' Association (SEA) intends to send a delegation to Myanmar in the near future to investigate the Myanmar market for Indian oilmeals. According to the SEA of India, if tangible results are desired, the government should implement the National Mission on Oilseeds as a special program and execute it on a mission mode.

In a letter to SEA of India members on Monday, Atul Chaturvedi, President of SEA of India, stated that India's reliance on imported edible oils accounts for nearly 65 percent of the total consumption of approximately 22 to 22.5 million tonnes (mt). According to him, the country is forced to import nearly 13-15 million tonnes to bridge the gap between demand and domestic supply.

Due to the Covid pandemic, imports have been reduced to nearly 13 million tonnes in the last two years.

In 2019-20, the import of edible oils fell to 13.2 million metric tonnes (mt), worth approximately Rs. 71,600 crore. In 2020-21, India imported a similar amount, but the import bill increased by 63% to an alarming level of 1.17 lakh crore due to an increase in international edible oil prices.

According to him, edible oil imports are the third largest item on the import bill, trailing only crude petroleum oils and gold.

“We hope and believe that the alarming rise in edible oil import bills will galvanize decision-makers into launching the long-awaited National Mission on Oilseeds with adequate funding,” he said.

With the country returning to normalcy and edible oil consumption increasing, any delay on this count will exacerbate the problems, he said.

He commented on the recent reduction in the selling price of edible oils by SEA members, saying that at the request of the SEA of India, many leading manufacturers of edible oils voluntarily reduced the price by 5-15 per kg. The government and consumers both praised this.

“However, with international markets once again on fire, whether this reduction is sustainable in light of our heavy reliance on imports becomes a question." "Let's see what the future holds for us and Indian consumers,” he said.

Rabi Sowing:

In terms of rabi crop sowing, he stated that the initial sowing reports for mustard and other rabi oilseeds are encouraging. According to the most recent sowing report dated November 18, approximately 26.06 million hectares have been covered in rabi sowing, compared to 23.93 million hectares during the same period last year.

Mustard planting has increased by nearly 30% to 65.2 lakh hectares, up from 49.9 lakh hectares during the same period last year. The high price of mustard during the sowing season has encouraged farmers to expand the area under mustard seed cultivation, and the country hopes to see record mustard acreage and production during the current rabi season.

Ricebran Extraction

On the direction of the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to Food Corporation of India (FCI) to step up efforts for upgrading rice mills so as to produce better quality rice bran, he said FCI's regional offices were directed to encourage rice mills to set up new solvent extraction units for rice bran oil production to push rice bran production.

He stated that there are more than 150 solvent extraction units processing rice bran across the country in all rice-producing states, with sufficient capacity (utilization is less than 45 percent).

He stated that the association has strongly urged the Department of Food and Public Distribution, as well as the FCI, not to encourage the establishment of new solvent extraction plants because the industry has sufficient capacity, and instead to focus on upgrading rice mills in order to improve the quality of rice bran.

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