Palm oil import rose 21.58 per cent to 7,99,346 tonnes in May because domestic vegetable oil output fell as farmers were reluctant to sell oilseeds below the minimum support price for processing, industry body Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) said today.
India, the world's leading vegetable oil buyer, had imported 6,57,454 tonnes palm oil in May 2016.
The SEA cautioned that lower realisation could impact planting of oilseeds in the ensuing kharif season. To check price fall, the industry body demanded the government to immediately hike import duty on crude and refined edible oil.
The country's total vegetable oil imports remained flat at 13.84 million tonnes in May this year from 10.24 million tonnes in the year-ago period.
"Import of edible oil sharply increased in last two months as farmers are reluctant to sell oilseeds below MSP, which resulted into lower production of domestic vegetable oil," SEA said in a statement.
The share of palm oil is 64 per cent of the country's total vegetable oil imports.
Among palm oil products, import of RBD palmolein increased by 12.73 per cent to 2.94 lakh tonnes in May this year from 2.61 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period.
The shipment of crude palm oil (CPO) rose by 26 per cent to 4.92 lakh tonnes, as against 3.91 lakh tonnes, while the import of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO) jumped more than four fold to 12,497 tonnes, from 4,499 tonnes in the said period.
Among soft oil, import of sunflower oil increased to 1.54 lakh tonnes in May this year, from 1.50 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period.
The shipment of rapeseed-mustard oil also increased to 29,143 tonnes, from 18,718 tonnes, and the import of soyabean oil rose sharply to 3.40 lakh tonnes from 1.78 lakh tonnes in the period under review.
India imports palm oil, mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, and a small quantity of crude soft oil, including soyabean oil from Latin America. Sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)