Edible oil deficit to widen to 8 MT by 2020

Written by Commodities Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 6 2009, 05:57am hrs
India's deficit in edible oils is expected to widen 73.5% by 2020 to more than 81 lakh tonne from the current 47.1 lakh tonne, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham). The situation may aggravate further if the country fails to maintain the growth in domestic vegetable oil production.

According to an Assocham report on edible oil, maintaining the growth rate in production of vegetable oils won't be an easy task especially when there is increasing competition among the different crops for cultivable land and irrigation facilities are not improving as desired.

The report further highlights that edible oil consumption in the country has increased at a brisk pace over the years with growing population and per capita consumption also has gone up (edible oils taken into account here are soyoil, groundnut, mustard, sunflower, safflower, sesame, coconut oil, rice bran oil and cottonseed oil). During the last two decades, the edible oil consumption in the country has increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.25% from mere 49.59 lakh tonne in 1986-87 to 114.5 lakh tonne in 2006-07.

DS Rawat, Assocham secretary general, said that change in food habits with an increase in income, the per capita consumption of edible oils has also risen during this period at a CAGR of 2.23% to 10.23 kg per year in 2006-07 from 6.43 kg per year in 1986-87.

Despite some growth in yield of mustard, lack of increase in irrigation facilities is keeping acreage of mustard, a rabi crop, almost stagnant. Lower profits from oilseeds for the farmers due to poor yields as compared to other crops too contribute towards lack of expansion in oilseed acreage despite various promotional programmes on the part of the government.

The report also pointed out that yield of adopted oilseeds like soybean and sunflower is just half of the global average. Yield of traditional oil seeds is also well behind global average. The key major reasons behind the lower yield are lower irrigation coverage of oilseeds.