India’s edible soyabean oil imports have skyrocketed 100 times in just a matter of one year and is further on a further rising trend.
After continuously rising onion prices, the increase in soyabean oil prices is likely to make the Indian dishes more expensive. Soyabean oil prices are surging, taking cues from the increased dependence on imports to fulfil domestic requirements. India’s edible soyabean oil imports have skyrocketed 100 times in just a matter of one year and is further on a further rising trend. The country imported edible soyabean oil worth only about Rs 10-70 lakh per year during FY15-FY17. This rose to Rs 1.67 crores in FY18 and suddenly rocketed to Rs 167 crores in FY19, according to the Department of Commerce.
Even in the current financial year, in only the first seven months, edible soyabean oil worth Rs 190 crores has already been imported. The government blames the low production of soyabean in the country responsible for the spike in imports. “The domestic production of edible oils is not adequate to meet their demand in the country. The gap between demand and production of edible oils is met through imports,” Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, in a reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.
The production of soyabean in Maharashtra has been hit in recent years and the expected production has also fallen. While the state produced 45.45 LMT soyabean in FY19, the production is estimated to reach up to 42.08 LMT only in the current fiscal year. With increasing dependence on imports, the price of soyabean oil has also increased and in only a year, soyabean oil prices have increased by 3.13 per cent in the wholesale market and 2.79 per cent in the retail market, going by the data provided in Rajya Sabha.
Meanwhile, the country’s overall import of vegetable oils during November 2018-September 2019 is reported an increase of 3 per cent to 141 lakh tonne, against 137 lakh tonne during the same period the previous year. Also, in response to the safeguard duty petition filed by the SEA of India, the government imposed 5% to safeguard duty on RBD Palm Olein/Palm Oil of Malaysian origin with effect from 4 September 2019.