Centre reminds to bring down prices, edible oil bodies say in 10-15 days

Almost a week after asking the edible oil associations to cut down on MRP by at least Rs 15 per litre in line with the reduction in international prices, the Centre has issued a strict reminder, warning that it is keeping a watch on prices of edible oil.

One of the prominent associations said on Tuesday that it takes about 10-15 days of buffer for the prices to cool down and cannot happen overnight.

Secretary in the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), Sudhanshu Pandey, on Monday wrote a strong reminder to the prominent edible oil associations such as the Solvents and Extractors Association of India (SEAI), Indian Vegetable Oil Producers’ Association (IVPA) and Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA), asking those who have not yet reduced prices to immediately do so.

The DFPD had held a meeting last week with the various associations after edible oil prices in the international markets spiralled down, prompting the government to direct them to reduce the MRP by at least Rs 15 per litre.

First the Russia-Ukraine war and then the ban on export of palm oil by Indonesia had led to price escalation. Things started changing in the international market when Indonesia lifted the ban and also there was an increase in availability of sunflower oil from Ukraine by road.

“Pandey’s letter on Monday reminded the associations of that meeting and again directed those companies which have not yet reduced oil prices to immediately take action so that the benefits of reduced prices in the international markets are passed on to the common consumers,” sources said.

The Centre also suggested involving board members from the industry in the process of deciding price ranges so that it is beneficial to both the industry and the DFPD.

B.V. Mehta of Solvent and Extractors Association of India told IANS that the prices cannot be cooled down overnight.

“We have forwarded the ministry’s letter and asked our members to act accordingly. But one must understand that we do not send our goods to the market on a daily basis. Those that are already in the market will be sold at old rates only. The new rates would be effective within 10-15 days,” Mehta said.

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