Rising prices of edible oils: Centre hopes states will impose stock limits

Asia's Tech News Daily

The central government on Friday expressed hope that key oilseeds and edible oil-producing states will begin implementing stock limits from next week. It will further help in cooling down the prices and bring some relief to consumers amid the festive season, the government said.

The central government said that it took measures to reduce edible oil prices by 3-4 per kilogram and the benefit has been passed on to consumers after steps were taken to bolster domestic availability and check price hike.

“Despite international commodity prices being high, interventions taken by the central government along with state governments’ proactive involvement have led to cooling down of prices in India much more than the international market,” Sudhanshu Pandey, food secretary, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

He said that the 3-4 per kilogram reduction on retail prices of edible oils would not be possible without proactive intervention on behalf of the government. “Edible oil prices are higher than the year-ago period but from September onwards, there was a declining trend,” Pandey said. He said that the recent steps will start impacting rates of edible oils.

Pandey said that as mustard seed stocks are over and only 2-3% are kept for sowing it could have led to a spike in price. “ Mustard oil prices are expected to cool down with the arrival of the fresh crop in February. Mustard oil prices were also impacted due to a rise in global prices of other edible oils that the country imports,” Pandey said.

Here is the list of average retail prices of edible oils on Friday –

  • Mustard oil – 185.55 per kg
  • Groundnut oil – 182.86 per kg
  • Sunflower oil – 168.21 per kg
  • Soya oil – Rs. 154.91 per kg
  • Vanaspati – 138.31 per kg
  • Palm oil – 132.64 per kg

Pandey said that the Centre does not want to impose stock limits as there are few states which produce oilseeds and there are some states which depend on imported edible oils. “States are discussing with edible oil processors and traders, and we are hopeful that stock limits will be imposed from next week onwards,” Pandey said responding to queries on whether any state has imposed stock limits on edible oils or oilseeds.

“We are taking data of importers from DGFT but exporters have been kept under self-disclosure and not under the stock limit so that there is no impact on prices. Now, the states have got clarity and can impose stock limits based on their earlier orders in which quantity was specified,” Pandey further added.

Pandey also said that states were asked to enforce the Essential Commodities Act, impose stock limits and take action against offenders.

India’s palm oil import share is the highest, followed by soybean oil. India’s mustard oil import share is 11%, Pandey said. He further added that steps are being taken to improve production of secondary edible oils, especially rice bran oil and reduce dependence on imports.

The government has also suspended futures trading in mustard oil on the NCDEX and imposed stock limits to keep a check on rising prices.

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