Deccan Herald (11/05/2020) - Edible oil trade body SEA on Monday asked the government to ban import of refined palm oil, fix tariff value on sunflower oil and monitor illegal shipments from Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to protect local processing industry.
The Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) flagged the issues in a meeting with Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pande through video conferencing.
In a statement, SEA said it informed the government about the need to ban import of refined palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia at a time when domestic refining capacity is lying idle, going against the clarion call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for 'Make in India'.
"It remains a mystery how import licences get issued to some favoured companies making a mockery of the concept of 'Make in India'.
"With coronavirus driven prospects of job losses looming, it is imperative that refined oil imports are totally banned forthwith," the SEA said in the statement.
The industry currently has capacity to refine over 1.5 million tonnes monthly crude palm oil and supply RBD Palmolien/refined palm oil to meet the domestic demand, it said.
The trade body also stressed on the need to fix monthly tariff value to check import of sunflower oil, as is the case with palm and soya oils.
"This will ensure a level playing field in case of sunflower oil imports."
To check illegal imports, the SEA urged the government to strictly monitor shipments from Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and check the origin of the product.
To encourage domestic production of edible oils, the SEA suggested the government begin the long-delayed national mission for edible oils, and give full focus on non-traditional sources like rice bran, cottonseed and tree borne oilseeds.
It also suggested starting of a mustard mission to encourage production of the crop in Punjab and Haryana by giving suitable incentives.
It stressed the need to declare 'oil palm' as a plantation crop and increase its acreage in a time bound manner.
SEA further said there is a need to exempt domestic oils from storage control order as is the case for imported oils.
"Even with massive supply chain disruptions, edible oils availability has been smooth and we see no reason for it to change in future," SEA said, adding that it is geared up to ensure smooth supply during the lockdown.
About 70 per cent of India's demand for edible oils is met through imports.
Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/business/business-news/sea-demands-ban-on-refined-palm-oil-monitoring-of-illegal-shipments-836245.html