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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Domestic crop to trim India's vegoil import needs

BOMBAY, Sep 23 (Reuters) - India's edible oil imports are likely to fallby over six percent next year as domestic production of oilseedsincreases, a leading industry official said on Sunday.Edible oil imports are likely to fall to 5.15 million tonnes in the yearending October 2002 from an estimated 5.5 million tonnes in the currentyear, Dorab E. Mistry, Director of Godrej International Ltd, told avegetable oil conference.He estimated India's edible oil production at 8.21 million tonnes nextyear, up from 7.16 million tonnes."Projected bumper crops in the forthcoming oil year will add one milliontonnes to the supply of oil but will reduce imports by just 350,000tonnes," he told the Globoil India conference.The balance will be taken up by normal growth in per capita consumption, arise in population and re-building of stocks, said Mistry, who is based inLondon.Godrej International is a leading global trading house.According to industry estimates, India's winter-harvest oilseedsproduction is likely to rise to 17 million tonnes in 2001/02 from 15.8million the previous year.He said palm oil imports could fall to 3.15 million tonnes from 3.64million during the review period, while imports of soyoil may rise to 1.6million tonnes from 1.37 million tonnes."If South America expands soybean cultivation by another 10 to 15 percent,the pressure from soybean oil on palm in the months April to August 2002could be awesome," Mistry said.He said India will continue to import large volumes of soyoil, unless itreduces import duties on crude palm oil (CPO) and refined, bleached anddeodorised (RBD) palm olein. "This creates a dark cloud over palm."India imposed its heaviest-ever duty of 85 percent on RBD palm olein and75 percent on CPO in February. But the duty on soyoil remained unchangedat 45 percent due to the country's commitment in the World TradeOrganisation.

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