Edible oil demand is set to decline at least during March-April as hotels and restaurants have closed down amid nationwide lockdown to fight against coronavirus disease, according to an industry body.
Hotel, Restaurants and Cafeterias (HoReCa) segment accounts for 40 per cent of the country's total edible oil demand at 230 lakh tonnes annually.
Edible oil imports and processing activities have also slowed down, but there is sufficient stock in the country to meet domestic demand, Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) Executive Director B V Mehta told PTI.
"Our monthly consumption of edible oil is 18-19 lakh tonnes per month. The demand will certainly fall as hotels, restaurants and cafeterias have closed down," Mehta said.
He, however, said it would be difficult to estimate the extent of fall as household consumption might increase slightly during lockdown period.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Mehta said imports of vegetable oils (comprising edible and non edible oil) too have slowed down, but there is no concern about availability.
"We have sufficient stock of imported oil. Local production of mustard oil is happening. Harvesting of mustard crop is going on in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, so all local processing mills are operating," Mehta said.
He said there is some labour shortage and logistics issues but those are getting sorted out.
India's total demand for edible oil is around 230 lakh tonnes annually, which is largely being met through imports.
The country imports palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia, while shipments of soyabean come from Argentina and Brazil.
India's vegetable oil imports increased by 3.5 per cent to 155.5 lakh tonnes in 2018-19 marketing year (November-October).
While shipments of edible oil increased to 149.13 lakh tonnes in the 2018-19 marketing year from 145.16 lakh tonnes in the previous year, the imports of non-edible oil grew to 6,36,159 tonnes from 5,09,748 tonnes during the period under review.During the November 2019 to February 2020 period of the current oil year, imports have fallen by 6.1 per cent to 45,63,791 tonnes compared to 48,62,849 tonnes in the corresponding period of the previous year.