Palm oil imports in India increased by 56.50 per cent to 5,26,463 tonnes in March this year, as oil refining companies were not showing interest in importing sunflower oil due to cost overruns. The industry body Solvent Extractors Association, ie SEA (Solvent Extractors Association) gave this information on Wednesday.

India imported 3,36,392 tonnes of palm oil in March 2020, the world’s leading vegetable oil buyer. The country’s total vegetable oil imports increased marginally to 9,80,243 tonnes in March 2021 as compared to 9,55,422 tonnes in the year-ago period. Palm oil accounts for more than 60 percent of the country’s total vegetable oil imports.

According to SEA, due to high prices of sunflower oil, edible oil refining companies bought more palm oil in March. According to SEA data, the import of Crude Palm Oil increased to 5,06,533 tonnes in March this year from 2,95,577 tonnes in the year-ago period. Imports of Crude Palm Kernel Oil increased to 17,430 tonnes from 9,965 tonnes in the same period. While imports of RBD palmolein fell to 2,500 tonnes in March this year, from 30,850 tonnes a year earlier.

Among lighter oils, sunflower oil imports declined to 1,46,970 tonnes in March, compared to 2,95,387 tonnes in the same period last year. Similarly, the import of soybean decreased marginally from 2,92,996 tonnes to 2,85,200 tonnes. The SEA said that in the coming months, the domestic mustard crop of 85-90 lakh tonnes and the heavy demand for crude condensed and refined mustard oil will curb the import of edible oils.

India mainly imports palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, and a small amount of crude light oil as sunflower oil from Argentina is imported from Ukraine and Russia.