China’s aggressive buying of oilseeds worries Indian industry

Pune: China plans to import large quantities of castor seed from India, which can create a scarcity of raw material for the local edible oils industry, a leading trade body said.

“During the last few months, China has been aggressively buying Commodities to bolster their State Reserves. We understand they are also targeting to buy big quantities of castorseed from India. Traditionally China buys castor oil and derivatives from India but this new-found interest in looking to buy castor seeds has huge ramifications for our domestic industry as they may be starved for raw material,” Solvent Extractors’ Association president Atul Chaturvedi said in a letter written to commerce minister Piyush Goyal.

India supplies almost 85% to 90% of the world’s requirement of Castor Oil and its derivatives. “India has a very well-developed processing industry and our exports of Castor oil touch almost Rs. 6,000 Crore per annum. Processing Industry provides employment to large number of persons both directly and indirectly. In case China starts buying castorseeds aggressively, our processing industry would suffer and it would not be in national interest. Needless to say value-addition within India should be the prime focus of our country and raw material (castorseed) exports should be discouraged,” the association said.

In the current export policy, all oilseeds including castorseed is freely exportable. “China may take advantage of this policy to buy castorseed from India to crush at their end. This will deprive the domestic crushing Industry of value addition, capacity utilization, and loss of export market. It is important to ensure raw material exports are discouraged and value addition continues to take place within our country,” said Chaturvedi.

The trade body has requested the Ministry of Commerce to take necessary steps to discourage the export of castorseed by taking suitable action, such as Fixing Minimum Export Price or imposing the Export Duty on castorseed etc. to protect the interest of the industry.

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