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The import of cooking oil by India increased nearly 10 percent reaching to a figure of 15.57 million tonnes (MT) in the financial year 2017-18. As per the industry body, SEA (Solvent Extractors Association), the increase in imports is mainly due to the increase in palm oil shipments.
India is the largest buyer of vegetable oil in the world. During the financial year 2016-17, the country had imported 14.21 MT. As per data from the industry body SEA, the import of edible oil in the financial year 2017-18 was at 15.1 MT and the non-edible oils were at 3,92,115 tonnes.
More than 60 percent of the edible oil imported is palm oil. The shipments of palm oil increased after Malaysia decided to remove export duty on the oil. The Indian government, however, has tried to control the inward shipments by increasing the duty on the crude palm oil from 30 percent to 44 percent. The center has also increased the duty on RBD palm oils from 40 percent to 54 percent in order to safeguard the domestic industry and farmers.
SEA told, “This increase in duty is a welcome step. Yet, the government has missed the opportunity to provide a 20 percent duty difference between crude and refined oils as requested by the Association to encourage domestic refining industry and promote ‘Make in India’.”
The total stock of edible oils at all ports and pipelines is estimated to be at 2.11 MT on April 1st, 2018 which is more than the monthly requirement of 1.9 MT. Malaysia and Indonesia are the main sellers of palm oil to India. Some smaller quantity of crude soft oil and soyabean oil come into the country from Latin America. Ukraine and Russia export sunflower oil to India.