Govt to hike import duty on edible oils
After increasing import duty on sugar, the government has decided to hike the import duty on refined and crude vegetable oils to protect farmers from frequent price crash of oilseeds. According to sources, the government would increase the import duty on crude oil from existing 7.5 per cent to 20 per cent and on refined oil from 12.5 per cent to 35 per cent.
The decision in this regard has been taken by Union Agriculture Ministry, which is headed by Radha Mohan Singh, after oilseed prices slumped below the government's support levels and the proposal has been sent to Finance Ministry for the final approval.
"The decision on import duty revision would be announced this week," the source said, adding, "Given the bumper production of oilseeds, prices of oilseeds have drastically come down. So in the given circumstances, farmers are not getting buyers for their produce."
Recommending increase in import duty, the Solvent Extractors Association has written a letter to the government suggesting hiking the import duty upto 20 per cent and 35 per cent for crude and edible oil respectively.
Local oilseed crushers are struggling to compete with cheaper edible oil imports from Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil and Argentina, reducing demand for local rapeseed and soybeans, even after prices crashed by a third over the past 14 months. India, the world's biggest palm and soybean oil importer, now relies on imports for 70 per cent of its edible oils, which is up from 44 per cent in 2001/02.