India has increased import duties on various edible oils ranging between 60% to even 100% on some oils like crude palm oil. With prices of oilseeds plunging way below the minimum support price levels and oilseed crushing industry too facing competition from cheaper imports, the industry had been demanding restrictions on import of edible oils in the country.
The Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) has welcomed the customs duty increase on edible oils. Late last evening, the Government substantially increased import duty on all edible oils and also soybean.
The new rates are as under: Import duty on crude soyabean oil 30% (17.5), soyabean refined oil 30% (20%), palm crude oil 30% (15%), RBD palm oil 40% (25%), sunflower crude oil 25% (12.5%), sunflower refined oil 35% (20%), canola/rapeseed/mustard oil Crude 25% (12.5%), canola/rapeseed/mustard oil refined 35% (20%).
SOPA chairman Davish Jain has said that SOPA has been vigorously following up with the Government at all levels for an increase in the customs duty for more than one year with extraordinary efforts put in recent months. Only a small increase was done in August this year, because the Government has to balance between farmers and consumers interest and has also to consider impact of oil prices in inflation.
However, working through all the concerned ministries and even ministers who have no direct concern with Agriculture, we were successful in persuading the decision makers that unless the Indian farmer was supported against cheap oil imports, our whole oilseed economy will badly suffer and may even collapse in case of soybean. Also the fate of the industry is directly linked to the farmers interest and the two cannot be seen in isolation.