Ukraine crisis may affect India’s sunflower seed import

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For edible oilseeds, the stock limit is 100 quintals for retailers, 2,000 quintals for wholesalers…reports Asian Lite News

Banking on abundant mustard production expected this year, an apex edible oil industry body has said the Russia-Ukraine war is likely to have little impact on domestic edible oil rates even as international prices have gone up. It, however, demanded that the government ensure soya solvent plants are working at full capacity.

There is some uncertainty and prices of some of the edible oils have gone up by $200 in the international market. India imports sunflower seeds from Ukraine as imports are relatively cheaper even when India’s sunflower seed production ranges between 60,000-75,000 tonnes.

As per the government data, the all-India retail prices for sunflower seeds oil on March 2 was 159.07 per kg compared to Rs 158.06 on March 1; Rs 156.66 (February 28); Rs 152.54 (February 27) and Rs 152.3 (February 26). The prices for retail one week back, one month back and one year back was Rs 151.08, Rs 149.42 and 149.47 respectively.

The comparative wholesale prices were Rs 15,357.69 per quintal on March 2 compared to Rs Rs 15,291.27 on March; Rs 15,108.29 on February 28; Rs 14,791.29 (February 27) and Rs 14,673.88 (February 26). The prices for wholesale one week back, one month back and one year back were Rs 14,497.07, Rs 14,171.46 and Rs 14,517.91 respectively.

Chairman of the Central Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade (COOIT), Suresh Nagpal, said, “(Even when) edible oil is not coming from Ukraine, thankfully, in India, we have stocks available for 40-45 days.”

“This year, India is expecting record mustard production. This will play an important role in meeting the edible oil deficit. After March 15, 3 to 4 lakh tonnes of mustard oil will be available per month,” Nagpal said.

COOIT also has demanded the government to ensure soya solvent plants are working at full capacity. “The government needs to provide some kind of incentive for export in soya DOC so that plants start working at full capacity,” he added.

Since a month now, the government has specified a stock limit for edible oils. It is 30 quintals for retailers, 500 quintals for wholesalers, 30 quintals for retail outlets of bulk consumers, i.e., big chain retailers and shops and 1,000 quintals for its depots. Processors of edible oils would be able to stock 90 days of their storage capacities.

For edible oilseeds, the stock limit is 100 quintals for retailers, 2,000 quintals for wholesalers. Processors of edible oilseeds would be able to stock 90 days production of edible oils as per daily input production capacity. Exporters and importers have been kept outside the purview of this Order with some caveats, the Ministry said.

With a view to keep prices in check and also check the rise in prices of domestic edible oils due globally hike, the Centre had reduced the agri-cess for Crude Palm Oil (CPO) from 7.5 per cent to 5 per cent with effect from February 12.

The second Advance Estimates released on February 16 have, for oilseeds, have estimated Rapeseed and Mustard production at 11.46 MT. Earlier in November, 2021 too, the Department of Food & Public Distribution had said that to control prices of edible oils the government had rationalised import duties on palm oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil, futures trading in mustard oil on NCDEX was suspended and stock limits were imposed too.

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