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India’s Edible Oil Industry Calls for Import Ban

Thursday, June 25, 2020

India’s edible oil industry has managed to survive the COVID-19 crisis by processing more crude oil to fulfill local demand.  It now wants to strengthen its position by banning all refined palm oil imports into the country.  Dr. B. V. Mehta, Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) Executive Director said, the edible oil supply chain in India is capable of achieving much more in terms of self-sufficiency, be it production or processing, as was demonstrated during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

According to SEA, the Indian oil trade body, total edible oil imports for April 2020 dropped 34 per cent year-on-year from around 1.2 million tons in April 2019 to less than 800,000 tons.  This drop was attributed to logistical challenges “both at the destinations as well as at discharge ports.”  Edible oil covers palm oil, sunflower oil, soyabean oil and rapeseed oil.

The Association is looking to completely ban all refined palm oil imports into the country, but increase crude palm oil imports at the same time to create more local jobs. “It is ironical that with Indian refining capacity lying idle, refined palm oil imports continue. This is in spite of the clarion call given by our prime minister for Make in India instead of Make in Malaysia/Indonesia and Sell in india,” said SEA President Atul Chaturvedi in a letter to its members. 

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