Ahmedabad: To protect oilseeds growing farmers and domestic edible oil industry, oil millers have called for a need to curtail imports of edible oil. The millers’ request has come in the light of a possible spike in oilseed and edible oil production domestically.
The expectation of higher production of edible oils stems from the substantial increase in sowing of oilseeds such as groundnut, sunflower, soybean and safflower this kharif season across India. Gujarat is a top producer of groundnut.
“With increase in area under oilseeds cultivation, the availability of domestic edible oils is likely to go up sizeably in coming months. So the need to curtail edible oils imports has become inevitable,” Saurashtra Oil Mills Association (SOMA) said in a letter written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Around 65% of India’s edible oil requirement is met through imports. India’s edible oil imports stood at 15 lakh tonne in July, which was 41% higher than the imports registered in the same month last year.
“This import is very high when most of the bulk consumers like hotels, restaurants and snacks manufacturers are either closed or operating at marginal capacity in current scenario of Covid-19 pandemic,” the association added.
According to SOMA, high import has already resulted into groundnut prices dropping from Rs 6,200 to Rs 5,300 per quintal, which is damaging the farmers.
“To protect our farmers and domestic edible oil industry, putting quantitative restrictions on imports of edible oils seem to be the only solution,” SOMA president Sameer Shah said in the letter.

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