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Puri Oils presses govt for favourable policy for indigenous edible oils
Monday, 06 January, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
The Union government should formulate a favourable policy for the indigenous edible oils sector, which benefits farmers, consumers and manufacturers equally. The objective underlying the creation of the commodity exchanges in India was to benefit farmers.

This was stated by Vivek Puri, managing director, Puri Oil Mills, who added, “Unfortunately, since the majority of farmers do not transact through commodity exchanges, which was its prime objective, it has gone into the hands of speculators, which has artificially impacted the physical market. Hence, we require a regulator like SEBI, which can keep a watch on such malpractices.”

“We have been recommending for a Mustard Oil Development Board to be set up by the Government. Largely, such a board can be modelled along the lines of the American Soybean Association in the USA, or Spain’s International Olive Council, that protects and promote the interests of olive and olive oil producers, or the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, established by the Malaysian Government with the aim of promoting palm oil all over the world,” he stated.
The proposed Mustard Oil Development Board can play a pivotal role through research and development by developing value added products like the soya industry has done by developing soya protein, soya milk, soya nuggets, among others.

Similarly, it can ensure an integrated approach to the development of the mustard industry by enhancing value addition across mustard-based products. This was also one of the recommendations for the ensuing Union Budget 2020.
“India has emerged as the largest importer of edible oil globally. The country imported millions of tonne of edible oil between October 2018 and November 2019, which was a record in itself. The dependence on imported oil is expected to reach alarming levels up to 60-65 per cent. We continue to remain an oil deficit country,” he noted.

“Without a dedicated focus and support for India's own domestic oilseed production, it would be challenging to become self-reliant in the edible oil sector. There is an urgent need to have a plan for this industry. We need to learn from the oilseed producing countries to adopt the best practices, which, in turn, enables us to double farm incomes by 2022,” said Puri.
Moreover, mustard is one of India’s most important winter oilseed crops. The area under cultivation witnesses some fluctuations year on year and is reported to have declined marginally by one per cent as compared to last year, although the yield is  reported to have increased marginally year on year.

“However, it is still lagging far behind the international standards,” Puri said, adding that adequate focus is needed because the mustard seed and Indian mustard oil does not just have economic relevance, but is also an integral part of India's rich culinary heritage.
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