Russian-Ukrainian conflict hits sunflower oil imports; the industry is evaluating options in other countries

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With sunflower oil imports affected due to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, industry body SEA said on Saturday it was assessing options for sourcing cooking oils from other countries to maintain domestic supply and to control retail prices.

Industry players expect cooking oil prices to remain stable as domestic mustard oil supply improves from next month. The mustard seed harvest is about to begin.

India’s total edible oil imports hit a record high of ₹1.17 crore in the 2020-21 marketing year (November to October) from nearly ₹72,000 crore in the previous year due to sharp rise in world prices.

In terms of volume, imports remained stable at 130 lakh tonnes.

“The supply of sunflower oil has been disrupted due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. India imports 25,000,000 tonnes of sunflower oil per year, of which 70% comes from Ukraine, 20% from Russia and 10% from Argentina,” the Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA), BV executive director Mehta told PTI.

About 2 lakh tons of sunflower oil are imported every month, he added.

There is upward pressure on palm oil and soybean oil prices in international markets, Mehta said.

“Given our edible oil import dependency is around 65%, we are exploring all opportunities to source edible oils from other countries to maintain our domestic supply chain and maintain price stability. local retail outlets,” he added.

Mehta said Union Trade Minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting with edible oil industry players on Friday evening to take stock of the situation and explore ways to increase availability. interior.

“We have made many suggestions to boost domestic supply,” he added.

“We can increase our imports of palm oil from Indonesia, which diverts a lot of palm oil for fuel. We can also source canola oil from Dubai. olive oil can also be imported,” Mehta said.

Additionally, he said sunflower oil could be imported from Russia through a rupee-ruble deal to avoid sanctions.

When contacted, Adani Wilmar CEO and Managing Director Angshu Mallick said the situation will improve in the next 15 days and ruled out any increase in retail prices.

“The arrival of the mustard seed harvest will start in a few days. This will improve our domestic availability,” he said.

Mallick said sunflower oil accounts for 10-12% of India’s total annual domestic demand for cooking oils, or 220-230 lakh tonnes.

“[About] 65-70% of sunflower oil consumption is in the southern states. We need to promote the use of groundnut and rice bran oils in South India,” he said.

In western and eastern India, Mallick said people swap the use of sunflower and soybean oil based on price.

India imports palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, while soybean oil comes from Brazil and Argentina.

The government has significantly reduced import duties on edible oils over the past year to control retail prices.

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