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Food secretary says government launched probe to check black market in edible oils and oilseeds

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To check the rising prices of edible oils in the country, the government has started a monitoring campaign to crack down on hoarding and black marketing of oilseeds. The government on Monday said it has launched an inspection drive to check rising prices and availability of edible oils and to check stock and black market of edible oils and oilseeds.

About 60 percent of domestic demand is dependent on imports
The country is dependent on imports to meet about 60 per cent of the domestic demand for edible oil. The past few months have seen a sharp rise in the retail prices of various types of cooking oil due to global political instability. Prices remain high despite various measures taken by the government.
Investigation has been started to check hoarding and black marketing
Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said, “The government has taken several steps. The latest step is that we have started an inspection drive from April 1 to check hoarding and black marketing of edible oils and oilseeds. Supervision.

Eight central teams have been appointed
He said that now the inspection drive is being conducted in big states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. He said that the campaign would be intensified in the coming days. On other measures, the secretary said the government has already reduced import duty on edible oil, increased stock holding limits and guaranteed speedy clearance of ships at ports, apart from facilitating imports by private traders. Eight central teams have been deputed to ensure strict adherence to the execution of stock limit orders.

The Russo-Ukrainian War caused a shortage of supplies
In addition, the central government is holding regular meetings with the states to ensure compliance with the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) set by the retailers. In the case of sunflower oil, the secretary said that Russia and Ukraine are its two main suppliers and private traders are trying to buy edible oil from other countries, but it will be in very small quantities.

Sharp rise in average retail price of edible oil
According to consumer affairs ministry data, the average retail prices of soybean oil, sunflower oil and palm oil have risen sharply in the last three months. Average retail price of sunflower oil increased on April 4 to Rs. 184.58 per kg which as on 1st January this year is Rs. 161.71 per kg.

Similarly, the average retail price of soybean oil is Rs. 148.59 to Rs. 162.13 per kg, while the price of palm oil is Rs. 128.28 to Rs. 151.59 per kg. On April 4, the average price of groundnut oil was Rs 181.74 per kg, but mustard oil increased by Rs 2.78 per kg to Rs 188.54 during this period.

The order to increase the stock limit will remain in force till the end of the year.
The official statement also said, “The government notified the Central Order on March 30, 2022, amending the Order, 2016 by removing the licensing requirements, stock limits for certain food items and the Prohibition of Transactions Order, 2016. All states The Central Order dated February 3, 2022 to increase the stock limit of all types of edible oils and oilseeds for Union Territories has now been extended up to December 31, 2022.
“At present, the domestic production of edible oil is unable to meet the domestic demand of the country,” the statement said. Therefore, the country has to rely heavily on imports to bridge the gap between supply and demand. The bulk of the edible oil is used for cooking, about 56 per cent, which is met by imports into the country. But recent geopolitical developments have pushed international prices of all edible oils to all-time highs.”

Therefore, the Food Ministry said that there is a need to keep a watch on the local market participants to prevent unjust practices like hoarding and profiteering by unethical elements. The Stock Limit Order proposed by the Government empowers the Central Government and all States/UTs to control the storage and distribution of edible oils and oilseeds.

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