The country’s import of vegetable oils rose by 15% in June at 13.44 lakh tonnes, according to Solvent Extractors Association (SEA). The import of vegetable oils during June 2017 is reported at 13,44,868 tonnes compared to 11,69,456 tonnes in June 2016, a rise of 15%. This consists of 12,93,777 tonnes of edible oils and 51,091 tonnes of non-edible oils.The overall import of vegetable oils during first eight months of current oil year 2016-17 (November 2016 to June 2017) is reported at 98,63,572 tonnes as compared to 97,63,043 tonnes, more or less of the last year. Currently, soybean, rapeseed and groundnut are being sold below MSP and prices have dropped between 20-30% of last year level. The current prices are the lowest in the last five years and farmers are totally discouraged to sow the oilseeds and may switch over to cotton and other cash crops, B V Mehta, executive director, SEA said. To ensure that farmers do not lose interest in oilseeds cultivation, the association has strongly recommended to the Centre to raise the import duty on crude oil to 20% and refined oil to 35% with immediate effect.
The stock of edible oils as on July 1, 2017 at various ports is estimated at 7,38,000 tonnes (CPO 2,70,000 tonnes, RBD Palmolein 1,50,000 tonnes, Degummed Soybean Oil 1,60,000 tonnes, Crude Sunflower Oil 1,40,000 tonnes and 18,000 tonnes of Rapeseed (Canola) Oil) and about 15,40,000 tonnes in pipelines. Total stock at ports and in pipelines increased to 22,78,000 tonnes from 21,60,000 tonnes in June, 2017. India’s monthly requirement is about 17.50 lakh tonnes and operate at 30 days stock against which currently holding stock over 22.78 lakh tonnes which is equal to 39 days requirements.
During November 2016 to June 2017, import of refined oil (RBD Palmolein) has sharply increased to 19,03,056 tonnes from 17,77,839 tonnes in the same period of last year, while import of crude oil decreased to 77,08,902 tonnes from 78,92,977 tonnes during the same period of last year.
During November 2016 to June 2017, Palm Oil import increased to 59,21,563 tonnes from 56,05,473 tonnes during the same period last year while the overall share of palm oil products increased to 62% from 58%, thanks to larger import of RBD Palmolein. Soft Oils import reduced to 36,90,395 tonnes from 40,64,343 tonnes last year, however, within soft oils, import of sunflower oil has sharply increased at the cost of soybean oil. Import of non-edible oils during November 2016 to June 2017 is reported at 2,51,614 tonnes compared to 93,227 tonnes during the same period last year, the association said.
Last month, the association had said that import duties on crude oils should be raised to 20% from a level of 7.5% on crude palm oil and 12.5% on soft oils with immediate effect. Import duty on refined oils should be raised to a minimum of 35% from the current level of 15% on palmolein and 20% on other refined oils,” it said. Edible oil availability in the world is very good on the back of excellent crops worldwide. The association president said that international prices would actually come down with this action of the government. Further, raising import duties on refined oils to 35% would also help in improving capacity utilisation of domestic refining industry.