Daily News Analysis » India’s Rising Concerns Over Edible Oil Imports

India’s Rising Concerns Over Edible Oil Imports


Why in News:

  • India’s edible oil imports reached a record 16.5 million tonnes in the year ending October 2023.
  • Despite higher volumes, the value of imports decreased due to a global price drop.

Trend Over a Decade:

  • Over the past 10 years, imports have risen from 11.6 million tonnes to 16.5 million tonnes. 
  • This increase is more pronounced in the last three years.
  • Domestic production of edible oils was around 10.3 million tonnes in 2022-23.
  • The self-sufficiency ratio has dropped significantly compared to 2004-05.

Oil Production and Imports:

  • Major contributors to India’s edible oil production include mustard, soybean, cottonseed, and rice bran.
  • Genetically modified (GM) Bt technology has boosted cottonseed oil production. However, recent declines in cotton output have affected its oil production.
  • Major imports include palm oil (mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand), soybean oil (from Argentina and Brazil), and sunflower oil (from Russia, Ukraine, and Argentina).

Vulnerability to Global Market

  • High import dependence exposes India to international price fluctuations.
  • Edible oil prices in India are closely linked to global market trends.
  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict significantly impacted global edible oil prices.
  • This led to a reduction in retail edible oil inflation in India.

Way forward:

  • Adoption of GM technology for increasing domestic edible oil production and government support for oilseed growers are suggested measures.