India’s edible oil imports has turned negative for the first time in six years. It is due to the increased local production of oilseeds in the country.
Edible oils are most often plant-based oils, which are similar, if not the same as those produced by the industrial biotech industry for use as biofuels such as biodiesel, for use in cosmetics, and in other everyday biotech products.
India is expected to import 14.3 million tonnes of edible oils in the year to end-October 2017, down 300,000 tonnes or 2 per cent from the previous year.
India is likely to raise import duty on refined and crude vegetable oils, like palm and soy oil, as local oilseed prices slumped below the government support levels.
Farmers in India are now shifting to more lucrative crops like cotton, soybean, sunflower etc. India’s edible oil purchases – mainly palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia and soybean oil from Argentina and Brazil – have increased each year but this year there is chance they it may decrease.
India, the world’s biggest palm and soybean oil importer, now relies on imports for 70 per cent of its edible oils.