Highest production of mustard seeds seen, palm oil imports up


The government is giving production of edible oils very high priority, and this is reflected in the mustard seeds seeing the highest production, going up from 91 LMT to 101 LMT this year, an official statement said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, palm oil (crude and refined) import quantity for August 2021 was 7.43 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) as against 5.65 LMT in July 2021, an increase of 31.5 per cent from the previous month, which was largely due to opening up of the economy, the Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Ministry statement said.

Due to a gap between demand and supply, around 60 per cent of the edible oils consumed in the country are met through imports. Palm oil constitutes around 54 per cent of the total edible oil imports, and is sourced mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, while soyabean oil constitutes around 25 per cent and is imported from Argentina and Brazil. Sunflower oil constitutes 19 per cent and is imported mainly from Ukraine, the release said.

A close watch is kept on day-to-day basis on production, imports, and prices of edible oils and so that appropriate measures can be taken to keep a check on the prices of edible oil, it said.

Taking year on year comparison for the month of August, it can be seen that the total palm oil imports (crude and refined) for 2019, 2020 and 2021 was 8.81 LMT, 7.48 LMT and 7.43 LMT, respectively, which is still below the usual demand in the economy.

An Inter-Ministerial Committee on Agri-Commodities chaired by the Food Secretary is also in place to closely monitor the prices and availability of agricultural commodities including edible oil keeping in view the interests of the farmer, industry, and consumers.

The committee reviews the price situation on a weekly basis, and considers relevant measures in relation to edible oils and other food items, depending on the domestic production, demand, domestic and international prices, and international trade volumes.

Timely interventions by the government have been made in the last year as and when needed so as to ensure that the prices remain stable, and interest of consumers is protected within the limitations of international fluctuations.