Oilseed farmers apprehensive of import duty cut

SEA, the edible oilseed industry body has exhorted the Centre government to not to reduce the import duty on crude palm oil.

Published - December 28, 2019 10:19 pm IST - CHANDIGARH

Apprehensive of the possible reduction in the import duty on crude palm oil to 30% from the existing 40%, the Solvent Extractors' Association of India has said that any such decision would hurt the oilseed farmers and has appealed to the Centre not to go ahead with the reduction.

SEA, the edible oilseed industry body has exhorted the Centre government to not to reduce the import duty on crude palm oil. SEA has also asked the government to not reduce the duty differential between crude palm oil (CPO) and refined palmolien to 7.5% from the existing 10% in line with ASEAN Agreement, which is likely to start from January 1, 2020.

SEA president Atul Chaturvedi, in a statement said that in case the demand of reduction in CPO import duties to 30% from existing 40% is accepted by the government “it would seriously hurt the oilseed farmer without being beneficial to the Industry.” “The National Mission of Edible Oil, which is targeting country's oilseed production to be about 50 million tonns in the next three to five years would also be jeopardised,” he added.

“We are opposed to any move to reduce import duties as it would be counter productive and harm national interests. Instead we suggest duty differential between CPO and refined palmolien be raised to 15% or kept at minimum 10% as at present without in any way reducing duties. Currently oilseeds are selling above Minimum Support Price (MSP), which augurs well for the future of oilseed production as the right price signals are going to farmers,” said Mr. Chaturvedi.

Over the years India has compromised its edible oil security, which has resulted in dependence on imports growing to almost 70%. The key reason for stagnant oilseed production in the county has been lack of interest among oilseed farmers due to poor returns, according to SAE.

The Union agriculture ministry data, released on December 27 shows that the total area under oilseeds so far across the country is 74 lakh hectares, nearly 1% less than the area till the corresponding week last year.

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