Agriculture Ministry pushes for hike in import duty of edible oils
NEW DELHI : The Agriculture Ministry has proposed an increase in import duty on crude and refined edible oils to protect farmers' interests and provide a level-playing field to domestic oilseed processors.
At present, the import duty on crude edible oil is 7.5 per cent, and for refined oil, it is 15 per cent. The duties were last revised in December.
"We have a mandate to promote production of oilseeds. Farmers are getting affected because of increasing import of edible oils. We have proposed the Finance Ministry to consider raising import duty from the current level," a senior Agriculture Ministry official told PTI.
Meanwhile, industry body Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) has demanded that the government raise import duty on crude oil to 25 per cent and that of refined oil to 45 per cent.
According to SEA, the increase in duties will protect the interest of crushers and also local farmers to sustain their interest in oilseed cultivation.
It said the imports of edible oils has reached a record of over 10 million tonnes in the first nine months of the current oil year ending October 2015, as against 8 million tonnes in the year-ago period.
Total imports are expected to touch 14 million tonnes valued at Rs 65,000 crore in the entire 2014-15 oil year against the previous year's import of 11.8 million tonnes, it added.
About 60 per cent of India's annual edible oil demand of 18-19 million tonnes is met through import, mostly from Malaysia and Indonesia.
Source : economictimes.indiatimes.com