Kharif oilseed sowing this season is much higher compared with last year. The sowing has been reported at 162.5 lakh hectares against 154.3 lakh hectares, up by nearly 8 lakh hectares although it is lower than the area covered in 2016, top officials of the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) said. The major increase in area is under soybean. Although the all-India rainfall up to August 8, 2018 is below LPA by 10%, with deficit reported in East and North East India, almost all the major oilseed growing areas have received sufficient monsoon, said Atul Chaturvedi, president, SEA. Following the upward revision of import duty in March, and later in June, the depreciation of rupee has acted like a check-mate for the import of vegetable oils, he said. This is evident for the fact that in June the import was actually down 23%, which decreased further in July to 27% (corresponding month last year). The overall import during November 2017 to July 2018 (9 months) is down 5.5%. Further, the country is sitting on a huge stock of nearly 25 lakh tonne of edible oils equal to 39 days requirement, he said. Even though there has been a hike in import duty, Indian consumer is not affected since international prices of edible oils have gone down by up to 14% due to excess supply in the world market, Chaturvedi said. For the first time, after many years, we will see a negative growth in import of edible oil which is a positive development for our country, industry and farmers, he said. Significantly, the export of oilmeals is also showing a positive trend. The overall exports during April to July is about 9.0 lakh tonne compared to 7.25 lakh tonne during the same period last year \u2013 up by about 25%, thanks to sharp increase in export of rapeseed meal. Interestingly, the ongoing trade dispute between US and China has created a lot of uncertainty and forcing China to look for other origins for their requirements of soybean and other oilmeals. This has compelled China to re-look its ban on oilmeals imports from India since 2012. This will open up Chinese market for India, he said. Last month, an official delegation from the ministry of commerce had visited China and tried to sort out issues and likely to start the export of oilmeals to China. Prior to the ban in 2012, China used to import nearly half-a-million tonne of oilmeals \u2014 about 3.5 to 4.0 lakh tonne of rapeseed meal and 1.0 lakh tonne of soybean meal \u2014 from India. Chaturvedi said that the ministry of commerce and the Indian embassy in Beijing have also discussed this issue and the Indian embassy had advised that India\u2019s Phyto Certificates should cover all the 12 pests found in Indian oilmeals and their AQSIQ would not object to Indian oilmeals import into China.