Seeking curb on excessive import of edible oils, the Soybean Processors Association of India (Sopa) has asked the government to fix TRQ (tariff rate quota) of one million tonne for soybean oil to help the industry and farmers.
“The reasons for the excessive import are low prices in the world market and low custom duty in India,” Sopa chairman Davish Jain said in a letter to commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
In a representation made to the minister, Sopa has pointed out that as per the National Institute of Nutrition, the edible oil requirement of India with a population of 1,300 million comes up to 16.607 million tonne. As against this, the total oil availability in 2015 was 21.60 million tonne including 14.42 million tonne of imported oil, the Sopa chairman said.
According to Jain, import of soybean oil is also having a deleterious effect on Indian farmers, the soy industry and soy meal exports. The soybean industry and farmers have now reached a stage where the future looks grim, he said. The association has suggested that the government should fix a TRQ of one million tonne for soybean oil to be imported at the current rate of customs duty and any quantity above the TRQ should be charged the WTO-bound rate of 45%.
TRQ could also be fixed for other edible oils, the association said. Such measures will substantially reduce the foreign exchange outflow. In 2015, some 30.30 lakh tonne of soybean oil was imported as against 21.01 lakh tonne in 2014. The association has also made representations to food and consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan and agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh.
Export of soybean meal in December, 2015 was just 5,667 tonne compared to 1,94,012 tonne in Dec, 2014 showing a decrease of 97%. The export during April-Dec 2015 was 61,559 tonne as compared to 4,31,368 tonne in the same period of previous year, showing a decrease of 85.73%.