SEA Chief seeks proactive approach to attain ‘AatmaNirbharta’ in edible oil

BL Mangaluru Bureau | Updated on: Sep 22, 2022
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Per capita consumption has increased to 17 kg, though oilseed cultivation is stagnant, says Atul Chaturvedi

India can become relatively self-reliant in the edible oil space, if it shows the same energy and proactive approach shown during the fight against Covid-19, according to Atul Chaturvedi, President of the Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India.

Speaking at the annual general meeting of SEA of India, he said one of the unintended gains from the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath in fuelling edible oil inflation has been the shaking up of decision-makers into implementing the Prime Minister’s project of achieving ‘AatmaNirbharta’ (self-reliance) in edible oils.

Stating that last year brought home the perils of neglecting oilseed cultivation during the last few decades, Chaturvedi said the decision-makers had to spend sleepless nights as the edible oil prices went up sharply.

Exponential growth

“Our edible oil consumption has grown exponentially to reach a level of around 17 kg per capita, but our oilseed cultivation has practically remained stagnant,” he said.

Referring to the recent efforts of the Agriculture Ministry to put in place the National Mission on Oilseeds, he said, “If the same energy and proactive approach shown during our fight with Covid is shown, the day is not far when India would be relatively self-reliant in edible oil space.”

Chaturvedi said the Indian economy was growing at a fast pace till 2019, and the same was also reflected in rising edible oil imports. Imports touched 15 million tonnes valued at around ₹70,000 crore in 2019.

Stating that consumption growth in edible oils was being pencilled at around 5 per cent per annum, he said, “Our own projections showed edible oil imports rising above 20 million tonnes by 2025. However, nature had its own plans of curbing runaway consumption. The onset of Covid-19 totally changed the equations.”

Dorab Mistry, Director of Godrej International Ltd, who delivered his lecture through the digital platform, said the prices of most commodities have peaked now. They will now go lower, but not very low, he said.

Published on September 22, 2022
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