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The Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has extended the ban on palm oil imports through Kerala ports until further orders. It has also extended import duty waiver on refined palm oil and palmolein oil. Both the duty waiver and the ban on imports at Kerala ports were to end on December 31. The Government banned the import of palm group of oils through Kerala ports in 2007 to protect coconut growers.The extension of the ban on palm oil imports reportedly comes on the Coconut Development Board’s request and various farmer organisations, fearing increased arrivals, especially when Indonesia lifted restrictions on palm oil imports. This may further depress coconut oil prices in the domestic market now ruling at ₹139.
Stagnant consumption
Official sources said the Kerala’s annual edible coconut oil consumption is around 3 lakh tonnes in the last few years. However, consumption is almost stagnant even at low prices against the production of 5.56 lakh tonnes in 2021-22.The Board has occasionally taken up marketing campaigns to increase consumption, citing its health benefits. However, industry sources pointed out that, of late, there was no generic promotion from the Board.Cochin Port Users Forum had urged the DGFT to lift the palm oil import restrictions to shore up the port’s revenue. They pointed out that the government implemented the ban to curb the sliding of coconut oil prices with no desired results.However, industry sources noted that there is no point in continuing with the ban through Kerala ports, as imported palm oil is still flowing freely to the state by road after unloading it at Tuticorin and New Mangalore ports.  SHARE
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