The country is expected to import 15.7 million tonnes (mt) of edible oil accounting for 70 per cent of annual edible requirement of 21 mt in the oil year (November-October) as the margins of domestic mills are squeezed with higher oilseed prices and falling oil prices.

Despite huge imports from India, edible oil prices are expected to remain under pressure due to excess global supply, said the Dinesh Shahra, Managing Director, Ruchi Soya.

Speaking at the annual industry event Globoil, he said soyabean prices have to correct from the current level of ₹3,500 a quintal to ₹3,000 for mills to process domestic supply and maintain their margin.

The industry estimates the soyabean crop this year at last year level of 8.5 mt, way below the government estimate of 13 mt. With an expected edible oil production of 7 mt and import of 15.7 mt, the supply is expected to meet the ever growing demand this oil year.

Arrivals are expected to peak at end of the year and prices will drop with lower demand from the crushers.

Even if the farmers hold back 1.5 mt of seed for next year sowing they have to sell the remaining and this cannot happen till the prices come down, said Shahra. The farmers are reluctant to sell after seeing record prices last year.

The industry expects soyameal exports to remain low on robust domestic demand from poultry industry.

Shahra said India is getting a premium of $30-40 for non-GM oilmeal and this will continue even though the quantity-wise export may slowdown.