6 March, 2018
The government has recently increased import duty on crude palm oil to 44 from 30 per cent, while custom duties on refined palmolein and refined palm oil has been raised to 54 per cent from 40 per cent. Edible oil industry body Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) seeks increase in import duty on crude and refined palm oils but sought hike in custom duties on soybean and sunflower oils as well to protect farmers’ interest.
SEA said in a statement, “We had been representing to the government to increase duties on imported oils as our dependence on them has reached alarming levels of almost 70 per cent of our consumption. We are happy at this hike.”
India imports over 14 million tonnes of vegetable oils annually to meet domestic demand. However, the association was surprised that duties of only palm oils have been increased, stating this step might defeat the objective of doubling farmers’ income by raising domestic values of all oils.
“With mustard crop getting harvested our farmers will feel cheated if import duties on soya, sunflower and canola oils are not increased in same proportion as palm oils, it would be difficult to encourage farmers to grow more oilseeds if duties on these oils are not raised.”
At present, import duties on crude soybean oil is 30 per cent and that on crude sunflower and rapeseed oils are 25 per cent. The duties on refined soybean oil, refined sunflower oil and refined rapeseed oil are 35 per cent. The industry also demanded to raise the duty differential between CPO (crude palm oil) and palmolein to minimum 15 per cent from existing 10 per cent.
The Oil Palm Developers & Processors Association (OPDPA), the nodal agency for oil palm development in India, said the duty increase will benefit oil palm farmer and result in higher income for their produce. President, Sanjay Goenka said, “through the course of this year, the price per ton of fresh fruit bunches supplied by the farmers has gone up from Rs 6,781 per ton in July 2017 to around Rs 9,000 per ton due to increase in import duty. This has translated to a net increase of 33 per cent in the take home income for the farmers.”