India Plans to Boost Vegetable Oil Production

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Illustration of palm oil. Photo by: Palmoilmagazine

PALMOILMAGAZINE, MUMBAI – On Wednesday, February 7, 2024, the Government of India unveiled plans to bolster the domestic production of vegetable oil seeds, as disclosed by the Indian Minister of Finance. This initiative aims to diminish India’s dependence on costly imports of vegetable oil from major global producers such as those in Asia, South America, and the Black Sea region.

India presently holds the title of the world’s largest importer of vegetable oil, having allocated around US$ 20.8 billion for imports until March 2023. Due to stagnant production levels, the nation has been compelled to import up to two-thirds of its annual consumption, which stands at approximately 23 million metric tons. Notably, palm oil constitutes roughly 60% of India’s total vegetable oil imports.

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To achieve oil seed independence, various strategies are being devised, including the cultivation of canola, soybean, sesame, soyoil, and sunflower, as mentioned by Nirmala Sitharaman during the announcement of the annual interim budget set to commence on April 1.

Also Read: India’s Palm Oil Imports dropped to the lowest level in Three Months

These strategies involve research to develop superior varieties, widespread implementation of modern agricultural techniques, establishment of market connections, procurement guarantees, additional incentives, plant insurance, and other measures aimed at bolstering seed oil production.

As quoted from Reuters, she did not mentioned the numbers of investment needed to get vegetable oil independency. Though there was urgency for years to locally escalate the production, oil seed production was stagnant, not like other plants, such as, rice and wheat. Oil seed production in India increased 2,4% per year in the past two decades though the demand increased because of increasing population and prosperity.

Vegetable oil industrial association, Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) wanted that Ministry of Finance to deliver financial support which is available for new program to escalate vegetable oil seed production. “Our goal is about to minimize vegetable oil import dependency from 60% to be 30% for the next five years,” President of SEA India, Ajay Jhunjhunwala said.

India purchased palm oil from India, Malaysia, and Thailand. India imported soyoil and sunflower oil from Argentina, Brazil, Russia, and Ukraine. (T2)

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