The Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) has urged the Union government to gradually roll back the exemption of customs duty on edible oils to stem the falling domestic prices of soybean. The fall in edible oil prices has also contributed to a substantial fall in soybean prices in the domestic market.
In a letter to Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, SOPA Chairman Davish Jain told recent policy initiatives, including cutting of customs duty on edible oils, have caused a 15-26 percent decline in the prices of both imported and domestic edible oils in the last month.
Jain further wrote that the fall in soybean prices sends a negative signal to farmers at the peak producing time for kharif oilseeds. If the fall in prices continues, some growers may shift to other crops and this will break the momentum built over the last two years in oilseed production, he said, urging the government to gradually increase customs duty on edible oils to both benefits the growers and expand government revenue.
Meanwhile, producing of soybean has been slow, covering 31.68 lakh hectares (lh) countrywide as of June 17. This could largely be due to the sluggish monsoon this year. The latest figure released by SOPA shows that soybean has been planted on about 26.4 percent of last year’s coverage at 119.99 lh. In Madhya Pradesh, soybean has been planted on 9.53 lh , while in Maharashtra it is 17.55 lh, and in Rajasthan 1.97 lh.