India may have to pay Rs3,000 cr more as edible oil prices double

India may have to pay Rs3,000 cr more as edible oil prices double

Mumbai: India may have to shell out Rs3,000 crore more for importing edible oil as prices of the commodity have doubled in the last one year, industry experts have said.

“At the current level of import, India may have to pay Rs15,000 crore to foot the bill for imported oils in 2007-08 oil year," said B.V. Mehta, executive director, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India.

Mehta said the value of imported vegetable oils including edible, non-edible and Vanaspati is estimated at Rs12,000 crore for the 2006-07 oil year, which ends in October. The main reason for the increase in the imports is hike in global prices of edible oils, he added.

The Mumbai price of crude palm oil has reached $850 (Rs33,405) per tonne, from $433 a tonne, when the oil year began in November, while degummed soybean oil stood at $950 a tonne, from $595 per tonne, and sunflower oil at $1,430 per tonne, against $638 a tonne.

India is likely to import 4.7-4.8 million tonnes of edible oil in 2006-07, Mehta said, adding the import for next year may not increase as much because of a good oilseeds crop expected in the country.

However, it is too early to say what the production would be as rabi season is yet to begin when mustard is grown in many parts of the country, he added.

According to Mehta, edible oil imports during November 2006 to September stood at 4.2 million tonnes and non-edible oil imports at 590,000 tonnes.