Pune: The Solvent Extractors Association (SEA), which represents the entire edible oil industry, has opposed the proposal of Soyabean Processors’ Association (SOPA) to put quantitative restrictions on import of soyabean and sunflower oil.

SEA has claimed that putting quantitative restrictions will lead to flooding of the palm oil imports into the country.

“We understand from press reports that the Soybean Processors’ Association of India has sent a proposal dated 28th July 2020, to you to restrict the import of edible oils, particularly soybean oil and sunflower oil by imposing quota for their import. We appreciate the concerns of the soya Industry as many of our members are soyabean crushers, but feel the objective of raising domestic soyabean oil prices cannot be served by imposing quotas which will prove to be counterproductive. Indian demand is quite price sensitive and if soyabean oil /sunflower oil import is put under quota restriction, it would result in more palm oil flooding the Indian market which will hammer down our domestic oilseeds,” SEA has said in a release.

SEA has argued that lowering of soyabean seed prices would harm the interests of the soyabean growing farmer too. “This cannot be the objective of the government when we are talking of launching a National Mission on Oilseeds. In a nutshell, we totally disagree with SOPA’s proposal. The suggested cure is actually worse than the disease. The solution lies in raising the import duty on all oils suitably and linking it with MSP to ensure that farmers get a price above the MSP from the market and government agencies do not have to step in for market intervention operations,” said SEA statement.

According to SEA, the suggestion of having differential import duties with quota would be a retrograde step and create confusion and implementation issues. “It is needless to mention, the quota system will breed corruption as well as cornering by some influential groups and the less said the better on the quota System. The suggestion made by SOPA is counter productive and against farmers’ as well as domestic refiners’ interest and need no action,” the statement said.

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