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NEWS ADMIN

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

DATE

11/11/2002

NEWS PROVIDER

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

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NULL

CATEGORY

HEADLINE

INDIA'S 2002/03 EDIBLE OIL IMPORTS TO GROW
NEW DELHI, Nov 10 (Reuters)- India, the world's largest edible oilbuyer, is likely to import nearly a million tonnes more vegetable oils in2002/03, with poor monsoon rains leading to a lower domestic oilseed crop,a senior industry official said on Sunday."The total vegetable oil imports in 2002/03 (November-October) shouldbe around 5.7 million tonnes against an estimated 4.7 million tonnes in2001/02," B V Mehta, executive director of the Solvent Extractor'sAssociation of India, told Reuters on the sidelines of a convention onoilseeds.Mehta said the edible oil imports were bound to rise, looking at thisyear's oilseeds crop, which has been hit by insufficient rain."The winter crop is likely to be lower by about two million tonnes,while the summer crop could be down by about 0.8 million," Mehta said,adding that a near 3 million tonne drop in oilseed output will translateto about a million tonnes fall in oil production.The winter crop is sown in June, and harvesting starts in October, butthe production is accounted for in November when crushing begins in thenew oil year.The summer crop is sown in November and harvested in March.India's four-month monsoon rains arrived in the southern coast on timein June, but the crucial month of July was dry in most oilseed-growingregions of the country.The country gets 80 percent of rainfall from the southwest monsoon.India mainly imports palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia and soft oilslike soyoil from the U.S., Argentina and Brazil.Mehta said the only way for India to meet its growing demand for edibleoils was by easing the import of oilseeds."The industry has been demanding a reduction in import duty on oilseedsto 15 percent from the current 30 percent and simplification in customsprocedures," Mehta said.Under current rules India carries out its own quarantine checks beforeallowing in oilseeds, a procedure which industry officials say can take upto two months.