Edible oil industry not happy with Union Budget

Edible oil industry body Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) has expressed disappointment over the Budget 2019-20 saying the government did not announce any package to boost oilseed production despite its vision talked about focusing on bringing import bill on cooking oils.

Only proposal that figured in the Budget was withdrawal of exemption from customs duty of 7.5 per cent on palm stearin and fatty acid, which has practically no impact on the struggling palm oil refiners, it said in a statement.

Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) said the expectation of the industry was higher. “The industry was expecting the finance minister will announce package of incentives to boost the domestic oilseed production and curtail the import of edible oil by imposing higher duty and also announce creation of ‘Oilseed Development Fund’. It is disappointing that the above did not reflect in the Budget,” it said.

The finance minister has chosen not to change the import duty on edible oil and decided to maintain the status quo, it said, adding that this will discourage farmers to continue to grow oilseeds and they may switch over to other crops and the country’s dependence on imports of vegetable oil will further increase.

The SEA further said the industry’s expectation has grown after the government substantially raised in the minimum support price of soybean, groundnut and sesamum for the 2019-20 crop year (July-June).

Meanwhile, India’s oilmeal exports declined by 56% in June from a year ago to 114,972 tonnes as shipments of soymeal and rapeseed plunged. The country’s soymeal exports during the month plunged 83% to 18,185 tonnes, while rapeseed meal shipments fell 41% to 54,247 tonnes, the Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) said. In the first three months of 2019/20 fiscal year started on April 1, India’s oilmeal exports fell 24% to 571,325 tonnes, it said.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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