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India must follow China model for self-reliance in edible oils: SEA.

Date: 24-07-2018
Subject: India must follow China model for self-reliance in edible oils: SEA
India can attain self-sufficiency in edible oils and ensure better farm income by following China’s model of efficient farming, top industry officials said. According to Atul Chaturvedi, president, Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA), India can increase its productivity by encouraging consolidation of farms so as to allow efficient farming and lowering input costs through mechanisation, better seeds and fertilisers.

“The Chinese model can be useful for India. It is not advisable for a country as large as India to be so dependent on import of oil or any other important agri commodity .Imports have to be controlled at safe levels. Food safety is important and therefore farmers should be assured of reasonable returns. Supporting farmers (MSP) is only one of the ways. Not the only way,” Chaturvedi told the association members. He said, however, it is easier for China as farmers can get better -paying non-farming jobs that enables them to lease land to others and wean away surplus farm labour to other more paying jobs.

In India, it may be difficult to adopt the Chinese model in toto and it would be more prudent to consider forming cooperatives like those in Europe in the area of sugar beet farming. If India continues with small scale farming, it will have very high domestic farm prices in the long run which is inflationary, Chaturvedi said.

“The government must encourage consolidation of industries as small scale industries are inefficient, unable to innovate and spend money on R&D. If they are inefficient how can they pay farmers good prices. India must study how to make farm sector and processing industries more efficient,” he said, adding that policies must also be stable and not flip-flopping all the time as this discourages investors from making long-term investments.

The association wrote a letter to the government and suggested the involvement of experts in policy formulations. “SEA is willing to join hands with the Centre. The Minimum Support Price (MSP) for oilseeds should be defended not by physically procuring oilseeds but through Bhavantar scheme,” he said, adding that encouraging farmers in Punjab and Haryana to divert minimum 25% land to mustard by suitably incentivising them would go a long way. With customs duty collections increasing to a whopping `30,000 crore 25% of the same should be earmarked for Oilseed Development Fund, he said.

The association is also campaigning for lower trans fats to bring it down to the level of 2% by the year 2022. “The changing import duty structure over the last few months has narrowed the spread between imported palm oils and soft oils and we are seeing larger imports of soft oils,” he said.

Source: financialexpress.com

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