Though India's oilseeds production has gone up by 19 per cent between 2018-19 and 2021-22, it is still dependent on the commodity's import to meet more than 60 per cent of domestic demand.
According to Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs, India produced 31.52 million tonnes of oilseeds in 2018-19, which has gone up by 19 per cent to 37.15 million tonnes in 2021-22.
In fact the country's oilseeds production has substantially increased in the last four years, as it was 33.22 million tonnes in 2019-20 and 35.95 million tonnes in 2020-21.
Even the estimated production of soybean, as per the second advance estimates of the Directorate of Economic and Statistics, was 13.12 million tonnes during 2021-22 compared to the production of 12.61 million tonnes during 2020-21.
Yet due to the dependency on import of oilseeds and various types of edible oils, India is facing a supply crunch of these essential commodities and the government has been forced to initiate surprise checks and inspection drives to curb hoarding and black marketing of these items. Raids are also being conducted to control price rise of these commodities.
Russia and Ukraine, the countries which are currently engaged in a war, are two major suppliers of sunflower oil to India. Owing to the geo-political tensions arising out of the conflict, prices of soyabean oil, sunflower oil and palm oil have risen sharply in the past two months, due to their short supply.
As per official data, there has been sharp surge in average retail prices of soyabean oil, sunflower oil and palm oil in the last three months.
The average retail price of sunflower oil is ruling as high as Rs 184.58 per kg as on April 4 compared to the rate of Rs 161.71 a kg on January 1, 2022.
Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey had said on Monday that a central team along with state government officials is conducting inspections in various oilseeds and edible oil-producing states.
Large states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are being covered now, he had said, adding that the drive will be intensified in the coming days.
The senior official had also informed that the government has already cut import duty on edible oils, extended stock holding limits and ensured early clearance of vessels at ports, besides facilitating imports through private traders.