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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 The Hindu
 Palm oil imports likely to be up by 40 p.c

16/3/07 Mumbai  (PTI): An increased appetite for palm oil in the country will drive up its imports by around 40 per cent at 46 lakh tonnes in 2006-07 as against 33 lakh tonnes in 2005-06, an industry expert said.

"I believe 2007 will be the year when India will once again emerge as a major player in palm oil price-making," Godrej International Ltd., Director, Dorab E Mistry, said.

The estimated palm oil consumption by the country in 2006-07 would be up by 43 per cent at 45 lakh tonnes as against 31.5 lakh tonnes in 2005-06, he said, adding "This great reliance on palm will have a significant bearing on the price outlook for palm products."

In his paper presented at the price outlook conference 2007-08 held at Kuala Lumpur, Mistry said that from May onwards, India's imports of palm are likely to accelerate and exceed the previous quantities. "Already, imports are running about a third higher than last year," he said.

He indicated that there was a possibility of the Indian Government further reducing the import duty on palm to 50 per cent in May with its offer for a free trade agreement with ASEAN.

Mistry estimated that the total vegetable oil imports of India would be up by 17 per cent at 63 lakh tonnes in 2006-07 as against 54 lakh tonnes in year 2005-06.

India's vegetable oil production is estimated to be down by 4.4 per cent at 68 lakh tonnes in 2006-07 as against 71 lakh tonnes the previous year, he said.

"Though oilseed production in India, both kharif and rabi in 2006-07 is down by 2 million tonnes, oil production is lower by three lakh tonnes due to a very large carry over of rapeseed from the previous year," he added.

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