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India's 100-Day Agenda Focuses on Reducing Pulse and Edible Oil Imports - Mint

11 Jun 2024 12:57 pm
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MUMBAI, 11 Jun (Commoditiescontrol): According to Mint newspaper, the Indian government is prioritizing the reduction of pulse and edible oil imports, increasing ethanol supply, and stabilizing food prices as part of its 100-day agenda. This initiative will entail implementing stringent policy measures, akin to those adopted in the last eighteen months, the report suggests citing an unnamed senior official.

The agriculture ministry is working on a new scheme aimed at achieving self-sufficiency in pulses by 2027, the report added. This move is designed to curb the substantial expenditure on importing pulses and edible oil to enhance domestic supply.

In the fiscal year 2023-24, India’s import bill was $854.8 billion, down from $898 billion in FY23. Agricultural exports reached $48.9 billion in FY24, marking an 8% decline from $53.2 billion in the previous year. While overall agricultural imports fell due to a reduction in edible oil imports, pulse imports surged to a six-year high. The nation spent $3.75 billion on importing pulses and $14.8 billion on vegetable oils, compared to $1.94 billion and $20.84 billion respectively in the previous year, as per commerce ministry data.

“Our 100-day agenda will prioritize oilseeds, pulses, and biofuel, along with the welfare of 140 million farmers. A key focus will be on reducing the import bill and stabilizing agricultural commodity prices,” stated a senior official.

Efforts to attain self-sufficiency in pulses within the next 3-4 years are underway, with plans to introduce a comprehensive program promoting pulse production soon. The initiative will follow established Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and progress based on budgetary allocations.

India heavily relies on imports for edible oils, with 57% sourced from countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, impacting foreign exchange reserves by $20.56 billion. To address this, the government launched the National Mission for Edible Oils-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) in 2021, aiming to increase oil palm cultivation and boost crude palm oil production to 1.1 million tonnes by 2025-26.

Parallel measures are being taken to achieve self-sufficiency in pulse production through the National Food Security Mission (NFSM)-Pulses. Cooperation Minister Amit Shah noted that pulse production rose from 19 million tonnes in 2013-14 to 26 million tonnes in 2022-23. However, he emphasized the need to further enhance production to eliminate pulse imports and possibly position India as a pulse exporter by 2027.

India's annual pulse demand is about 28 million tonnes, primarily for tur, urad, and masur, with significant imports from countries such as Australia, Canada, Russia, and Myanmar. Despite improvements, the demand-supply gap persists, necessitating imports of 2.5-3 million tonnes annually in recent years.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau; +91 98201 3018)

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