India’s import of edible oil reducing each year

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, said that import of crude edible oil had a negative growth of 14.17% in 2018-19 over 2017-18 and negative growth of 18.82% in 2019-20 (Apr-Sept) as compared with corresponding period of the previous year.

The quantity and value of import of crude edible oil into the country during the last three years has been consistently going down. In 2017-18, India imported 12.57 million tonnes valued at $9.586 billion, while in 2018-19, the country imported only 12.44 million tonnes of edible oils valued at $8.2 billion, a drop by over 14 per cent. In the six months of the current fiscal (April-September), India’s import of edible oil stands at 5.8 million tonnes valued at $3.59 billion, sliding over 18 per cent after yearly adjustments.

The Solvent Extractor’s Association (SEA) has noted in a latest update that following the upward revision of import duty in March and later in June and also the depreciation of Rupee have been capping the domestic import of vegetable oils. Further, the country is sitting on huge stock of nearly 25.0 lakh tones of edible oils equal to 39 days requirement, noted SEA.

Even though there has been hike in import duty, Indian consumer is not affected, since international prices of edible oil have gone down by up to 14 per cent due to excess supply in the world market. The association thinks that this trend of negative growth in imports might continue for some time, definitely a positive development for industry and farmers.

The export of oilmeals is also showing a positive trend. The overall exports during April to July is about 9.0 lakh tonnes compared to 7.25 lakh tonnes during the same period of last year, up by about 25 per cent, thanks to sharp increase in export of rapeseed meal.

The ongoing trade dispute between USA and China has created a lot of uncertainty and forcing China to look to other origins for their requirements of soybean and other oilmeals. This has compelled China to relook its ban imposed for importing of oilmeals from India since 2012. This will open up Chinese market for India.

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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