Many Gujarat-based edible oil mills shut down for lack of oilseed stock

Gujarat based edible oil mills are passing through lean period as out of almost 400 mills across the state, hardly around 55 are operational and rest are waiting for the kharif oilseeds crop to hit the market, reports Financial Express.

“It is difficult to run an edible oilseed crushing unit as prices of imported oils are much lower than locally produced oils including groundnut, cottonseed oil, mustard oil etc. Moreover, stocks of oilseeds have almost exhausted. Most of the mills are likely to remain shut till the arrival of kharif oilseeds crop,” says Kishor Viradiya, president of Saurashtra Oil Mills Association (SOMA), an apex body of oil millers in Gujarat.

If the current trend continues for a longer period of time, not only oil mills but oilseeds growers will also not be able to get good rates of their produce, says Samir Shah, president of Gujarat State Edible Oils and Oil Seeds Association (GEOA).

With a view to curb rising prices of edible oil, the Government of India reduced import duty on edible oils. International prices of edible oils have gone down by 15 per cent to 25 per cent and high production period has started in edible oil exporting countries. India’s oilseed traders and millers now want the government to gradually increase import duty to protect local oil mills and oilseeds growers.

GEOA has also made representation before Union Minister for Commerce & Consumer Affairs, Piyush Goyal to increase import duty.

In June import duty on edible oils was ranging from 35 to 55 percent, since then the government gradually reduced import duty and at present it is ranging from zero percent to 15 per cent on different edible oils. Imported palm oil prices were at around Rs 2100 per 15 kg as against domestic price of Rs 2700 per kg.

India imports around 13-13.5 million tonnes of edible oils, of which around 8-8.5 million tonnes (around 63 per cent) are palm oil. Though the price of other imported Sunflower oil remained at around Rs 2700 per 15 kg, but import quantity of the oil is much lower than that of palm oil.

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