The Solvent Extractors” Association of India (SEA) has urged the government to immediately announce the National Mission on Edible Oils (NMEO) to make the country ”Aatmanirbhar” in edible oil requirement.
“Our nation has seriously compromised its edible oil security as our dependence on imports has risen to almost 70 per cent of our consumption. We urge the government to announce NMEO without any further delay and implement its recommendations,” SEA said.
The Association said this in a letter to the ministers of finance, corporate affairs, agriculture and farmers welfare, commerce and industry, consumer affairs, and food and public distribution.
The recommendations under NMEO submitted by SEA were an ”action plan” to announce allocation of Rs 4,000 to 5,000 crore per annum with special focus on mustard, groundnut, soybean and palm oils.
Also, to shift acreage from wheat and rice to soya, sunflower, maize and mustard in Punjab and Haryana through incentives, declare palm oil as a “plantation crop” and explore full potential of non-traditional sources.
SEA also suggested introduction of GM crop for higher productivity, raising the import duty on edible oils to translate remunerative price to farmers, linking import duty to minimum support price (MSP), and tax benefit for oilseed extension programme, among others.
This delay in announcement is a cause for concern not only to industry but also to the nation at large as raw material supply is reducing, and our dependence on import of edible oil is rising year after year without any further delay and implementing its recommendations, SEA said in the letter.
On an average, India produces 7.5-8 million tonnes of vegetable oil, while the current demand is 22.5-23 million tonnes, causing a demand-supply gap of 15 million tonnes, SEA added.