Stating that domestic edible oil prices are showing no sign of easing in view of global developments, industry body SEA on Monday appealed to its members to reduce minimum retail price (MRP) of cooking oils by Rs 3-5 per kg with immediate effect in order to give relief to consumers.
This is the second time the industry body is requesting its members to cut MRP. Last time, it had asked its members to reduce MRP on edible oils by Rs 3-5/kg around Diwali in November 2021. India, which meets more than 60 per cent of its edible oils demand through imports, has taken several steps like reducing import duty on palm oils, imposing stock limits in the last few months, to keep domestic retail prices under check.
Despite these proactive efforts of the government, all-India average retail prices continue to rule higher than the year-ago period’s. “These prices are showing no immediate signs of moderating and some exporting countries like Indonesia have also started regulating exports of palm oil by way of licensing,” the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) said in a statement. Global edible oil prices are skyrocketing and this imported inflation is not only giving sleepless nights to all stakeholders but also to the hapless Indian consumers, it said.
Further, tensions in the Black Sea region between Russia and Ukraine is adding fuel to the fire into the sunflower oil complex which comes from that region. Inclement weather in Brazil on account of La Ni a has also reduced soya crop drastically in Latin America, it added. Given this global situation, SEA said though its members are struggling to maintain a smooth supply chain of edible oils, they are aligned with the proactive decisions of the government.
SEA said it has “requested and advised their members to reduce Minimum Retail Price by Rs 3,000 to 5,000 per tonne (Rs 3 to 5 per kg) on edible oils, with immediate effect to soften the prices.” The industry body also mentioned that the domestic mustard crop is shaping quite well and it is expecting a record crop during the current year which may help in bringing some relief to consumers.
Besides, the government has been very proactive in taking prompt measures to cool down the prices before the new mustard crop starts hitting the market yards. The recent reduction in import duty on crude palm oil (CPO) by 2.5 per cent is a case in point. ” This small Holi gift from our SEA members should help in providing succour to our consumers and add some colour to the festivities,” SEA added.
According to the data maintained by the Consumer Affairs Ministry, the average retail price of groundnut oil (packaged) was ruling at Rs 177.75 per kg on February 20, higher than Rs 164.55 per kg in the year-ago period. Similarly, retail price of mustard oil (packed) was at Rs 187.03 per kg on February 20 this year as against Rs 145.02 per kg on the same day of 2021, while soya oil (packed) retail price was at Rs 147.36 per kg as against Rs 126.03 per kg.
Retail price of sunflower oil too was quoting high at Rs 161.75 per kg as against Rs 144.22 per kg, while that of palm oil was Rs 130.53 per kg as against Rs 113.89 per kg in the given period, the data showed.