The government has been keeping a close watch on the prices of edible oils so that appropriate measures can be taken to keep a check on the prices, an official release said on Sunday. 

According to Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, “India has an optimum stock of all edible oils. The present stock of all edible oils in the country is around 21 LMT and 12 LMT is in transit arriving in May 2022, as per the industry sources.” 

Therefore, the country has sufficient stock to cover the lean period due to the ban on export by Indonesia, the ministry said in its official statement. 

Indonesia last week announced a palm (edible) oil export ban from April 28, 2022, amid severe shortage and high prices in the southeastern region. 

“A close watch is being kept on a day-to-day basis on prices of Edible oils so that appropriate measures can be taken to keep a check on the prices of edible oil for ensuring that the prices remain stable, and interest of consumers are protected,” the ministry said in its official release.  

The Inter-Ministerial Committee held weekly on Agri-Commodities chaired by the Secretary (Food) closely monitors the prices and availability of agricultural commodities including edible oil keeping in view the interest of the farmers, industry, and consumers, the ministry said.  

The committee reviews the price situation on weekly basis and considers relevant measures in relation to edible oils and other food items depending on the domestic production, demand, domestic and international prices, and international trade volumes, the release also added.  

“Special teams have also been constituted by both Central & State Governments to prevent hoarding and profiteering under the Essential Commodities Act. These surprise checks shall continue to check unscrupulous elements,”. 

On the oilseeds front, DA&FW’s second advance estimate released in February 2022 shows a very positive picture of soyabean production for the year 20221-22 at 126.10 LMT which is higher than last year’s production of 112 LMT, the ministry also said in a release. 

As a result of the higher sowing of Mustard seeds by 37 per cent in all major producing states including Rajasthan in comparison with last year, the production may rise to 114 LMT in the 2021-22 season, the official statement said. 

“The Dept of Food and Public Distribution is monitoring the price and availability situation and meetings are held regularly with major Edible Oil processing Associations to discuss a further reduction in the domestic edible oil prices and MRP to give relief to consumers,” it added.  

Palm oil (Crude + Refined) constitutes roughly around 62 per cent of the total edible oils imported and is imported mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, while Soyabean oil (22 per cent) is imported from Argentina and Brazil and Sunflower oil (15%) is imported mainly from Ukraine and Russia. 

International prices of Edible Oils are under pressure due to a shortfall in global production and an increase in export tax/levies by the exporting countries.   

India is one of the largest producers of oilseeds in the world and this sector occupies an important position in the agricultural economy, accounting for the estimated production of 37.14 million tons of nine cultivated oilseeds during the year 2021-22 as per the 2nd Advance Estimates released by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. 

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