Business Bureau :
The edible oil prices have gone through the roof and beyond the reach of the common man. Soyabean oil mostly used in households for cooking is available at Rs 145 per litre to Rs 150 per litre, while groundnut oil is priced at Rs 170 per litre to Rs 180 per litre. The prices have been inflated in such a way that it has affected household budgets to a large extent. Last year in March, soyabean oil was available at Rs 90 per litre to Rs 100 per litre just before the first lockdown. “Edible oil prices have shot up due to lower supplies,” said Rajesh Thakkar, President of Oil Merchants Association and owner of Shantilal Oils Pvt Ltd, Itwari while speaking to The Hitavada. The rise in prices has come at a critical time when people do not have money in their pockets due to the current lockdown and temporary closure of commercial establishments. Apart from this, the worst affected are the daily earners and people working in the private firms and unorganised sector as they are not being paid or have lost their jobs.
A large number of people have exhausted all their savings during last year’s lockdown. The Government should intervene and do something about the increasing prices of edible oils, sources in the market said. Thakkar said that the main reasons for the rise in soyabean oil price is due to lower production of the crop in Argentina, Brazil and US. These three countries are the major producers of soyabean in the world. Due to bad climatic conditions the crop production has declined. In Brazil the soyabean crop is late by a month and would come in the markets by April end. This has resulted in rise in the prices of soyabean in the domestic market, he said. The country imports about 60 per cent of its soyabean oil requirements from countries like Argentina, Brazil and US. Palm oil is imported from countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, while sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia, he said.
To make matters worse, Indonesia and Malaysia have hiked the export duty resulting in palm oil prices to go northwards. Similarly, Ukraine and Russia have raised the export duty on sunflower oil a few months ago as the crop production is lower in these countries, he said. In the wholesale market, edible oils like soyabean is being quoted at Rs 2,200 to Rs 2,300 for 15 kilogram (kg) tin. Similarly, palm oil is being quoted at Rs 2,080 to Rs 2,100 for 15 kg tin, groundnut oil is being quoted at Rs 2,500 to Rs 2,600 for 15 kg tin and sunflower oil is being quoted at Rs 2,500 to Rs 2,700 for 15 litre tin, he said. Consumption in city for soyabean oil on average is 200 to 250 tonne per day. Accordingly, consumption of palm oil on an average is 100 tonne per day, groundnut oil on a daily average is 10 to 15 tonne and sunflower oil is 30 to 40 tonne per day. Thakkar suggested that the Govt should increase the production of edible oil seeds in the country to lower the imports.