Govt allows bulk exports of rice bran oil

New Delhi: The government today allowed bulk exports of rice bran oil and removed quantitative restrictions on out-bound shipments of organic edible oils.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the Commerce Ministry's proposal to "allow unrestricted exports of rice bran oil in bulk", sources said.

It removed the "quantitative restrictions of 10,000 tonnes per annum on exports of organic edible oils", they added.

Although India is a major importer of edible oils, the Centre has allowed bulk exports of rice bran oil to help small rice millers realise better price as demand of this cooking oil remains limited in the domestic market.

India imports over 10 million tonnes of vegetable oil -- largely edible -- annually, which is some 60 per cent of the country's total demand.

Edible oil exports have been prohibited since March 17, 2008. Certain exemptions have been allowed from time to time. The government has now decided to allow bulk exports of rice bran oil, considered as premium edible oil with limited consumption in India, without any restrictions of minimum export price or consumer packs, sources said, adding that this would not increase the cost of rice.

Industry body Solvent Extractors Association Executive Director B V Mehta welcomed the move. He said, "This would help rice farmers as well as the country in realising full potential in this segment. India produces one million tonne (mt) of rice barn oil, but we have capacity to reach 1.6 mt."

On organic edible oils, the quantitative restrictions have been lifted to send a clear message to investors and the growers to invest in organic exports.

The exports will be subject to export contracts being registered and certified as 'organic' by the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

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