The Centre on Monday expressed hope that retail prices of edible oils would soften following the release of imported stock that was stuck at ports due to clearance issues.
According to the government data, retail prices of edible oils have shot up by 55.55 per cent in over a year and are adding to the woes of consumers already reeling under the economic distress induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Responding to a query on steps taken to contain the rise in edible oils prices, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said the government monitors edible prices closely.
The secretary said that the industry mentioned recently there was some holding of some stock at Kandla and Mundra ports because of clearances related to tests done by various agencies as part of the general risk analysis in view of the COVID situation.
"That problem has been addressed along with customs and FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India). With that stock getting released in the market, we hope to see the softening impact on the oil prices," he told in a virtual press conference.
The Secretary further said that India is dependent on imports to meet the shortages of edible oil. Annually, the country imports edible oils worth Rs 75,000 crore.
According to the government data, retail price of vanaspati has increased by 55.55 per cent to Rs 140 a kg on May 8 this year, from Rs 90 per kg in the year-ago period.
Similarly, retail price of palm oil has risen by 51.54 per cent to Rs 132.6 per kg from Rs 87.5 per kg, soya oil by over 50 per cent to Rs 158 per kg from Rs 105 per kg, while that of mustard oil by 49 per cent to Rs 163.5 per kg from Rs 110 per kg in the said period.
Retail price of soyabean oil has also increased by 37 per cent to Rs 132.6 per kg from Rs 87.5 per kg, while that of groundnut oil by over 38 per cent to Rs 180 per kg from 130 per kg in the said period.