A Parliamentary panel has flagged that “over-dependence on imports” has been a major factor in the exorbitant rise in edible oil prices, and called for achieving self-sufficiency in the availability of cooking oils through targeted interventions.
In a report tabled in Parliament on Thursday, the Parliamentary committee on commerce stated that undue reliance on import and “over-emphasis on stockpiling of grains like wheat and rice has stymied the development of the edible oil sector”.
Vegetable oils and fats have witnessed double-digit wholesale price inflation for months now—they remained the range of 11.4% to 17.39% since January. In June, they hit 12.36%. At the retail level, the prices have eased in recent weeks due to government intervention. However, they still remain elevated. The war in Ukraine, one of the edible oil suppliers, just exacerbated the situation.
The report on the Implementation of Districts as Export Hubs, including the One District One Product initiatives, the panel also suggested that the government make “earnest efforts to enhance oilseed output” by increasing cultivation of oil palm, soybeans, sunflower and mustard crops.
“The Committee also recommends that Government should facilitate measures for incentivising farmers to ensure effortless diversion of lands for oilseed cultivation,” it said. “It is further recommended that considered views of experts and public opinion of stakeholders on GM mustard seeds should be sought for exploring feasibility of releasing it on a commercial basis to augment mustard oil production.”