The association is preparing action plan and would submit it to the government for further consideration.
The Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) has urged the Centre to fix the tariff value for crude sunflower oil and rapeseed oil to help trade in the country. Atul Chaturvedi, president, SEA, pointed out that the government fixed the tariff value for import of palm oil and soybean oil way back in 2004, and it is being revised fortnightly based on which import duty is being changed.
According to Chaturvedi, the tariff value announced by the government has become a benchmark rate for import during that period and helped the trade and industry in their business transactions and therefore the government needs to fix the tariff value for crude sunflower oil and rapeseed oil.
“In 2004, the tariff was notified for the major oils imported at that time such as palm oil products and soybean oil. But over the years, the import pattern has changed and currently apart from palm oil and soybean oil, India started importing huge quantity of sunflower oil and rapeseed oil (canola oil),” he said.
“During the last few months, we have been repeatedly drawing the attention of the government that the duty advantage given to Malaysia for palmolein, would destroy domestic palm refining industry but nothing is happening to rectify the situation and correct the aberration,” Chaturvedi added.
He further said, “As anticipated, our worst fears have come true. Our nation is flooded with RBD palmolein from Malaysia following reduction of duty difference from 10% to 5% between CPO and palmolein sourced from Malaysia. This has resulted in RBD palmolein imports going up from 130,000 tonne in December 2018 to almost 312,000 tonne (an increase of 140%) in March 2019 and expected to increase in coming months.”
Chaturvedi said that the mustard harvest is nearing completion and palmolein import is having a huge negative impact on the income of mustard farmers and being sold at `3,500–3,600 per quintal much below MSP of `4,200 per quintal.To overcome the situation and to save the palm refining industry and also oil palm plantation and mustard farmers, SEA suggests the government invoke the ‘Bilateral Safeguards’ as referred in Article 5 of Chapter 5 of ‘Trade Remedy’ of CECA with Malaysia.
“Under this, the government of India can initiate the safeguard measures for serious injury caused to domestic industry and can suspend such duty reduction or levy the duty applicable to MFN,” Chaturvedi said.
He said SEA is now focusing on increasing the production of rape-mustard seed to reach 200 lakh tonne by 2025.
“We had received number of good suggestions for raising the productivity to achieve this target. This could be achieved by increasing the productivity and area transfer from wheat/rice to rape-mustard, wherever viable.”
The association is preparing action plan and would submit it to the government for further consideration. The association has suggested for creation of the ‘Mustard Mission’ and also setting up a stakeholders committee, consisting of government officials, agronomists, scientists, industry, farmers and other stake holders to deliberate and formulate the action plan.
“Our crushing industry has been suffering over the years for want of adequate raw material. Oilseed cultivation has been getting step- motherly treatment from all quarters with the result that production has remained practically stagnant. As part of our efforts to augment oilseed production, we had set up castorseed demonstration farms at various places in Gujarat and Rajasthan in last three years to promote better agronomic practices and supply improved variety of seed,” Chaturvedi said.
“In the current year, we are expanding our projects to establish over 400 model farms across Gujarat, Rajasthan and Telangana with well water recharging for raising the level of ground water. Further, we have set a target of mustard seed production of 200 lakh tonne by 2025,” he said.