Edible oil import bill likely to surge as soybean output may decline by 24%, says SOPA


In wake of unsatisfactory oilseed production this year, India’s yearly edible oil import bill is estimated to reach around Rs 650 billion fuelled by import of 15 million tonnes of cooking oil, Business Standard cited Soybean Processors Association (SOPA) survey. The muted output of oilseed this year has failed to match pace with the soaring consumer demand of cooking oil. For the harvesting year 2017-18, SOPA survey estimates that soybean production will be touching 8.35 million tonnes. It comes at 24 percent lower when compared to yield of 10.9 million tonnes last year. India is the world’s largest importer of edible oils.

As farmers in India don’t get good price for their produce, nearly 70 percent of the edible oil is imported by India for domestic consumption. The farmers in order to escape losses sow less soybean each year. Last year, the association of industry owners and farmers requested government to impose huge duty on edible oil imports so that their interests can be safeguarded. Thereafter, import tax on edible oil was raised to the highest level in more than 10 years by the Indian government to support its farmers and industry.

In its first survey conducted in October, soybean output was estimated at 9.15 million tonnes. Due to lower production of soybean in India, major exporters such as Argentina, the United States and Brazil will increase their sales of animal feed Asian purchasers namely Bangladesh, Vietnam and Japan. Indian oilseed crushers compete with Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil and Argentina, reducing demand for local rapeseed and soybeans.

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