New Delhi: Edible oil import by India, one of the world’s biggest buyers of the commodity, is likely to go up by 8-11% to 5.2 million tonnes (mt) in the 2007-08 season, despite an expected increase in domestic oilseeds output.
“Increased oilseeds crop will support. But there will be a rise in the edible oil import,” Solvent Extractors’ Association executive director B.V. Mehta said.
Mehta added that edible oil import is likely to be around 5.2 mt in 2007-08 against 4.7-4.8 mt estimated for the current oil year ending October 2007. He attributed the surge in edible oil import to the rise in population coupled with increase in per capita consumption.
Besides, state-run Nafed has no buffer stock of mustard to release in the market.
“There will be 4% growth in per capita consumption of edible oil as income is growing and 2% demand is going to be generated from the rise in population,” he said, but added that correspondingly, increase in production of edible oil would be less.
Mehta pegged the rise in edible oil demand to be 7 lakh tonnes.
He said increase in oilseeds output will not necessarily lead to a proportional rise in production of edible oils as soybean has 18% oil content while groundnut has 30%.
According to the agriculture ministry, the area under coverage for oilseeds is reported at 167.93 lakh hectares till last week against 155.41 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.
Soybean has been sown in 9% more areas (86.87 lakh hectares) this year and groundnut in 13% higher area (50.91 lakh hectares) till 23 August.