New Delhi: The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (Nafed) has said it will import higher volumes of edible oils after it failed to procure sufficient quantity of mustard seeds from the domestic markets due to high prices.
“We will increase our volume of import of edible oils as there is a demand for them in the country,” Nafed managing director Alok Ranjan said.
Nafed, the nodal agency for procuring oilseeds and pulses at minimum support price (MSP) to prevent distress sales, has imported 15,000 tonnes of edible oils till now, Ranjan said. Palm oil accounted for 90% of these imports.
He said Nafed would import both soya and palm oils.
Though most of the oils imported would be sold to state governments (for their oil cooperatives), millers would also be sold the imported oil, Ranjan said. “There is no target fixed for the quantity of import. We will import according to market demand,” he added.
Nafed has, this year, procured only 21,000 tonnes of mustard seeds against 21 lakh tonnes bought last year.
“The low procurement of mustard by Nafed is because of the higher price of the commodity in the domestic market against the MSP fixed by the government,” a government official said.
MSP for mustard, which is grown in the rabi season (October-March), is Rs1,715 per quintal whereas the current market price is in the range of Rs1,850-1,900 per quintal, a trader said. The current high in the market prices of mustard seeds is attributed to a production shortfall.
According to government estimates, mustard production is expected to dip by 15% to 669 lakh tonnes this year against 788 lakh tonnes last year.