- The rise in cooking oil prices comes as a result of a pandemic and state-wide lockdowns that have disrupted economic activity.
- According to official data, the monthly average retail prices of packed edible oils have risen to their highest levels in almost a decade this month.
The government conducted a meeting with all stakeholders to discuss strategies for addressing the issue of edible oil price stability.
The meeting’s aim was to coordinate efforts to ensure that edible oils are available at fair prices.
In a first-of-its-kind meeting to discuss ways and means to address the issue of abnormal price increases in edible oil, the Secretary of the Department of Food and Public Distribution said it was crucial to understand the issues that are contributing to price increases and discuss them with all stakeholders so that appropriate strategies can be formulated to solve the problem.
It should be noted that India’s production and domestic availability of oilseeds fall far short of the country’s edible oil demand. Every year, a large amount of edible oil is imported. Changes in the price of edible oil in the international market have a bearing on the price of edible oil in India.
The need for the meeting was also felt because the Centre was worried about a more than proportionate increase in edible oil prices in India compared to increases in international edible oil prices in recent months.
According to the Secretary of Food and Public Distribution, the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” project needs the country to be self-sufficient in edible oils. The edible oil industry in India cannot expand if it is reliant on imports to the extent of nearly 60%. Short-term measures to hold prices in check must be balanced against long-term measures to keep India’s AtmaNirbhar in edible oil production.”
In the meeting it was felt that there was also a need to strike a balance between measures to keep high prices in check and measures to make India AtmaNirbhar in the sector of Edible oil production.
According to the Secretary, all states and business stakeholders must take all reasonable measures to reduce costs.
He went on to say that the suggestions made at the meeting would aid in the development of comprehensive solutions to the problem of edible oil price stability and the domestic growth of the oil seed industry.
He asked the participants to send their suggestions and other inputs to the Center, which is working to ensure that edible oils are available at fair prices.
Producers of edible oil seeds, millers, stockists, wholesalers, various edible oil industry associations, and senior officials from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu attended the virtual meeting. The meeting was arranged by Department of Food & Public Distribution.