The government should create a 25-lakh tonnes buffer stock of mustard on the similar line as done in case of pulses, to enhance domestic production of oilseeds and cut imports of edible oils, according to the Central Organization for Oil Industry and Trade (COOIT).
“If the government creates the buffer stock, it will further encourage mustard cultivation and also will act as a price stabilization mechanism in case of sharp fluctuations in crop prices as it was witnessed during 2021,” said Suresh Nagpal, chairman of COOIT.
The procurement of mustard for the buffer stock should be made at market prices during the harvesting period starting from the first arrival of crop, the industry body said. This will help ensure oil processing units to operate throughout the year when the stocks are released in the market during off-season.
India had imported ₹1.17 lakh crore of edible oils during 2020-21 oil marketing year (November-October). It is high time both the Centre and State governments focus on increasing the domestic production of oilseeds, COOIT said in a statement.
“We urge the government to launch a dedicated scheme in the Budget with a significant allocation to encourage farmers for cultivation of various oilseeds crops like mustard, soyabean and sunflower,” Nagpal said.
National Mission on Edible Oils
In August 2021, the Centre had announced the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) with an outlay of ₹11,040 crore to be spent in next five years to boost domestic production of palm oil. The industry body has sought a similar initiative on mustard. It has also requested the government to consider supplying mustard oil at cheaper rates to all 80 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act.
The association also wants the difference between import duty on crude edible oils and refined edible oils to be increased from the current 5.5 per cent to protect the interest of domestic processors.