After a sustained rise in the vegetable oil imports for over four years, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) has predicted a dip of about 7-8 lakh tonnes (lt) in the vegetable oil imports for the year 2017-18.

The total imports of vegetable oils (edible and non-edible) for the 2017-18 oil year ( that ends in October) is expected to hover around 14.7-14.8 lt, lesser by about 7-8 lt from 2016-17, SEA noted.

This will be the first decline in the vegoil imports to the country in at least four years since 2013-14, when the numbers were at 11.61 lt .


So far this year, between November 2017 and August 2018, vegetable oil imports stood at 12.27 lt (12.27 lt) reporting a drop of 3.7 per cent.

After a series of measures taken by the government after the vegoil imports crossed 15.4 lt last year, imports had started declining. The Centre had hiked import duty on edible oils in March this year, thereby making imports costlier.

However, due to importers finding an alternate route from neighbouring countries by misusing SAFTA, the duty hike didn’t yield any desired effect.

“Imports from neighbouring countries particularly Bangladesh and Nepal under SAFTA by land route continued,” SEA said. The imports took place mostly in tank lorries or consumer packs in about 800-1,000 tonnes per day via Eastern India.

However, for August 2018, vegetable oil imports jumped from 11.19 lakh tonnes in previous month to 15.12 lakh tonnes. The recent rupee depreciation failed to create an impact as pipelines dried up due to lesser imports during June, July.