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Gujarat: Coronavirus clouds castor oil exports to Europe.


Date: 19-03-2020
Subject: Gujarat: Coronavirus clouds castor oil exports to Europe
AHMEDABAD: While disruptions of castor oil shipments to China have eased, its export to Europe is now threatened with the continent in the grip of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19). Europe is the second largest importer of castor oil from India after China. 

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“European buyers want castor oil dispatches to be delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Demand from Europe has also been affected,” said a member of the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India, a pan-India body of the vegetable oil industry. 

Europe accounts for 30-35% of castor oil exports from India, while China makes up 40%. India’s castor oil exports stood at 5.71 lakh metric tonnes in the last fiscal. Most of this goes from Gujarat, as the state is the largest producer and exporter of castor oil in India. 

“After offices, factories in Europe have started shutting down. As a result, demand for castor oil is expected to fall,” a castor oil exporter said. 

Demand from Europe is under cloud at a time when export to China are gradually coming back on track, with shipments getting through. 

“Consignments to China were disrupted as movement of inward containers was hampered due to the coronavirus outbreak. Dispatches now have re-started,” said an industry player. 

Some players have also started getting fresh orders from China. “The situation seems to be improving in China. I have received orders from China," said Dilip Padhya, CMD of Palanpur-based Amee Castor and Derivatives. 

Echoing similar concerns, sesame seed exporters from Gujarat said that demand from Europe has been affected. 

“Europe accounts for 15% of the 3 lakh tonnes of sesame seed exported from India every year. Fresh orders have come to a standstill. Importers from Europe are in wait-and-watch mode. They are asking us to extend deliveries as demand for oil seed has gone down due to the outbreak in Europe,” said an office bearer of the Federation of Indian Spice Stakeholders. 

“Meanwhile, shipments of cumin (jeera) to China have begun. Exporters have started getting fresh orders, although at slower pace. Cumin is not exported to European countries,” the office bearer added. 

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com


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