Coconut Board for hike in import duty for palm oil

Written by fe Bureau | Kochi | Updated: Aug 14 2012, 09:16am hrs
Higher imports of competing edible oils like palm oil and palm kernel oil are depressing the coconut oil market, Coconut Board chairman TK Jose said. The board has requested the Union commerce ministry to hike the import duty of crude palm oil to 10% from nil and appropriate increase in the import duty of refined palm oil from the existing 7.5% to help over 10 million farmers who depend on coconut farming in the nation. With an annual production of 16 billion nuts, India is the second largest producer among the coconut producing countries of the world.

The crop contributes more than R8,000 crore annually to the GDP and earns valuable foreign exchange to the extent of R1,700 crore by way of export of coconut products, board sources said. Coconut farmers are reeling under a major price crash, which started during the fag end of 2011 and is still continuing, Jose added. Coconut oil prices touched record high of R105 per kg during May 2011 due to lower production of nuts in India.

As on Monday evening, coconut oil prices at the Thrissur market stood at R59 per kg and oil delivered at Thrissur from Kangayam also quoting the same rate. Competing palm oil is quoted R62 per kg while close substitute palm kernel oil is quoted R72 per kg.

As imported edible oils enjoy tariff concession as well as subsidy, their market price at retail level is low which makes a significant dent on the marketability of coconut oil in the various markets in India, board source said.