ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sugar-Industry Has Its Way

Wishful Thinking on Edible Oil Imports THE growing compulsions of the foreign exchange situation have brought into sharp focus the implications of the staggering size of edible oil imports to bridge the alarming demand-supply gap. This is amply borne out by the ministerial pronouncements over the past few weeks in the Lok Sabha as well as outside, indicating official thinking on the policy for edible oil imports and indigenous supply of vegetable oils. The Union minister of food and civil supplies, K H Singhdeo, informed the Lok Sabha the other day that the National Oilseeds and Vegetable Oils Development Board was considering formulation of a national oilseeds and vegetable oils policy. The implementation of the national oilseeds development project, bet ter incentives to producers through fixation of minimum support prices and setting up of necessary processing and infrastructural facilities were mentioned as some of the measures considered by the government to increase oilseeds production. The agriculture minister, Buta Singh, said that next to the discovery of petroleum, the production of oilseeds would now onwards be given the top priority so as to reduce edible oil imports to the zero level. "We can't afford to spend foreign exchange on consumption" and "continued imports of edible oils and sugar would not be allowed", said the Union finance minister, V P Singh. He assured the critics of sugar and edible oil imports that the government would phase out the imports of these two commodities to afford the needed protection to the growers in the agriculture sector. He hoped at the same time that he should not be unduly criticised when as a result of phasing out of imports prices of sugar and edible oils went up..

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