KUALA LUMPUR: India may face a shortfall of more than 6 million tonnes (mt) of edible oil in the 2006-07 oil year, as consumption is likely to increase by 5% and production to dip by more than 4%.
India’s edible-oil production may fall by 3 lakh tonnes to 6.8mt this year, eminent edible-oil expert and Godrej International director, Dorab E. Mistry said on Wednesday at the Price Outlook Conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Edible oil consumption is estimated to grow by nearly 5% to 12.86mt in 2006-07, compared to the estimated 12.28mt consumed in the previous year, he said.
Mistry has pegged the edible-oil imports at 6.31mt in 2006-07, up from 5.4mt in 2005-06.
Oilseeds production is estimated to fall by 2mt in 2006-07, which includes both kharif and rabi crops, compared to the ouput of last year, Mistry said.
Mistry, who is well-known for his credible forecasts, also said rapeseed and mustard acreage in the current rabi season has slipped because of farmers’ diversification to wheat.
He also said that the coverage under groundnut had suffered during last year’s kharif due to farmers’ shift to cotton.
The dip in estimated edible -oil output is marginal compared to the fall in oilseeds, mainly due to a large carryover stock of mustard (with Nafed), he said.
Nafed, a state-owned cooperative, had procured 2.2mt of mustard last year under the price–support system after the market price of oilseeds fell below the minimum support price.
Import duty on palm oil was twice reduced last year. India would also be a major factor in palm oil pricing this year, Mistry said.
“India will import almost 1.5mt more palm oil as compared with the previous year,” he said while adding that the total edible oil imports will rise by about 1.0mt.
His forecast, has clearly put the palm oil at an advantage over soya oil. Palm and soyabean oil constitute 95% in the country’s imported edible oil basket, which is next only to petroleum products.