Tirupati: Severe shortage of edible oils looms large

For representational purpose only

For representational purpose only


Russia's invasion of Ukraine has already started showing its adverse impact on the edible oil prices.

Tirupati: Russia's invasion of Ukraine has already started showing its adverse impact on the edible oil prices. About 76 per cent of the country's edible oil imports are coming from Ukraine while 14 per cent are from Argentina. It is expected that if war continues for some more time, the country may face a severe shortage of sunflower oil and palmolein oil which may push the demand for groundnut and rice bran oils.

In several retail outlets and super markets, some popular brand sunflower oils were out of stock during the past 3-4 days. Some shops are selling the leftover stocks by increasing the prices abnormally which was taken seriously by the vigilance and enforcement sleuths who filed 14 cases at several places in the district on Sunday.

According to a representative of Sri Venkateswara Food Grains Association, who preferred to be anonymous, said that it takes more than three months for loading to commence after the order is placed. Due to the war situation, the previous consignment is said to be mid-way and there was uncertainty on its time of arrival in the country which was scheduled to reach by February-end.

Due to this, the companies in the country have reached dead storage already. The companies normally keep some buffer stock in view of any shipment delays which may be sufficient now up to March 15 or so. He said that dealers can't store oil for more than 7-9 days as the packets will get damaged owing to piling up of cartons one on another. In fact there was no need to store it as the stocks were readily available with companies during normal times.

Argentina supplies about 14 per cent of requirements but it takes almost four months to commence the loading after order is placed. As they supply to other countries too, it is not easy to get more supplies from there. When asked about the abnormal price hike, he said that the Union commerce minister has made it clear that companies should not sell the oil beyond Rs 175 per litre.

The price of sunflower oil was Rs 135 per litre some 10 days back which has now touched Rs 165 and it cannot go beyond Rs 175, he felt. Tirupati's requirement of sunflower oil alone stands at about 500 metric tonne per month.

To a question, he said that if the war continued for some more time, the country would face a severe shortage of sunflower and palmolein oils and people may have to shift to groundnut oil or rice bran oils. Though the price of wheat is also set to go up due to shortage in supplies, if the prices of petrol and diesel are increased in the next few days, the impact can be seen on almost all commodities.

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