Skyrocketing prices of edible oil prompts curbs against hoarding

High edible oil prices at retail level have prompted the Centre to ask states to curb hoarding of edible oil by merchants, wholesalers, millers and refiners. It has also asked direct retailers to prominently display the prices of all edible oil brands.

After a meeting with states’ representatives and industry stakeholders, Union Food Secretary Sudhansu Pandey ruled imposing stock limit on traders as well as the possibility of fixing MRPs (Maximum Retail Prices) for edible oils as he emphasised that market forces will determine the rates in a good competitive environment.

Pandey said the government will take a call on existing import duty regime after analysing the impact of various measures taken to reduce the prices. According to him, edible oil prices are expected to cool down with the arrival of new kharif crop by the end of this month, declining price trend in global markets and steps taken by the central government.

In the last few months, the Centre has cut import duty on various edible oils and asked states to take details of stock of edible oils and oilseeds from wholesalers, millers, refiners and stockists. It has also announced a Rs 11,040 crore-palm oil mission.

Stressing that the government’s current focus is on ensuring transparency across the supply chain, Pandey said that in today’s meeting, states have been told to ensure that retailers “prominently display the rates of edible oils”.

The government has reduced import duty on Crude Palm Oil (CPO) to 30.25 per cent from 35.75 per cent while that on refined palm oil has been cut to 41.25 per cent from 49.5 per cent till September 30. Import duty on refined soya oil and sunflower oil has also been reduced to 37.5 per cent from 45 per cent till the end of September. In the last one year, retail edible oil prices in the country have increased in the range of 41 to 50 per cent.

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