Agri Business

Extractors seek duty cut on oilmeal imports

| Updated on: Jul 30, 2012

Solvent extractors have sought a duty cut on oilmeal imports to help alleviate the shortfall in kharif oilseeds output. The move, if implemented, would help the extraction units running and ensure availability of cattle and poultry feed.

At present, customs duty on oilmeal stands at 15 per cent, making imports unviable for the domestic units.

“We want the Government to reduce the import duty to help overcome the anticipated production shortfall due to poor rains,” said Mr B.V. Mehta, CEO, Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEAI).

The Association is making a case for import of oilmeal of sunflower, copra, rapeseed and palm kernel among others. But soyameal imports are not being considered as they are not feasible right now, Mr Mehta said.

This is mainly on concerns over the presence of genetically modified (GM) content in soyameal imports.

The SEAI has also sought a cut in railway freight tariff and suggested removal of value-added tax (VAT) on edible oil and oilseeds.

“The Government had asked for suggestions to deal with the drought-like situation and we have asked them to consider these,” Mr Mehta said.

Groundnut output

He expected groundnut output to be lower this year, but did not quantify the decline. The deficit monsoon has cast a spell on kharif foodgrain and fodder output.

So far, the groundnut acreage is lower on account of poor sowing in key growing areas of Saurashtra in Gujarat, parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

“Delayed sowing will also impact the productivity,” Mr Mehta said. Rains during the next two months are crucial for the 95-110 day groundnut crop.

“The last showers, about 15 days before the harvest is crucial for the quality and productivity. If the monsoon withdraws on time in September, then there will be concerns as late sown crop is likely to be impacted. We are keeping our fingers crossed,” Mr Mehta said.

Soya acreage up

But the shortfall in groundnut acreage is being made up by higher planting of soyabean, especially in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

“Sowing is almost complete in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The total area, which is at 102 lakh hectares (lh) could go up by another 2-3 lh,” said Mr Rajesh Agarwal, spokesperson for the Soyabean Processors Association of India.

Well-spread rains in central India in the past few days have aided the planting and overall acreage will be higher than last year’s 103 lh, he said.

vishwa@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 30, 2012

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