Ghee exporters ask for three more months to meet quota ceiling

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 9:

Vanaspati ghee manufacturers and exporters here in Nepal are seeking government support to extend the export period by three months for export of the remaining amount of ghee to India.

Nepali exporters so far have exported 55,000 metric tonnes out of a total 100,000 MT under the quota allocated to Nepal by India for 2004-05. India has already extended the export period by three months for the remaining amount, effective from March 5 to June 5.

Exports during the fiscal 2004-05 only began in December 2004. Since, Nepali exporters could not export the whole amount in three months, India agreed to extend the export period by three months. However, Nepali manufacturers and exporters say that they can’t export the remaining amount by June 5.

“It is good that India took our request sincerely and extended the export period. However, it is still inadequate for the export of the remaining 45,000 MT of ghee,” said Raj Kumar Agrawal, president of Nepal Vegetable Ghee and Oil Manufacturers’ Association (NVGOMA).

He also asked the government to take the initiative for the extension of the export period by at least three months.

After extension, about one and half months have already passed and only little amount has been exported during the period.

“Only about 10,000 to 15,000 MT is expected to be exported during the remaining period. It means about 30,000 MT will remain to be exported out of the total quota,” said Agrawal, adding that additional three months will be required for the remaining amount.

Echoing him, Manish Kumar Agrawal, director, Shree Krisnhai Oil Refinery and Vegetable Ghee Industries also commented that additional three months would be required to meet the target. “It is not feasible to export the whole amount in six months which would have taken a year,” he said.

As per the renewed Nepal-India Trade Treaty 2002, Nepali vanaspati ghee enjoys zero duty access under the quota system up to a limit of 100,000 metric tonnes a year through the government-designated Indian trading houses. State Trading Corporation (STC) is the designated Indian authority for importing vanaspati ghee from Nepal.

Stating that Nepali exports are hurting the local industry, Indian manufacturers have frequently challenged the state-designated authorities who import ghee from Nepal.

As a result, most Nepali vanaspati ghee industries here are compelled to

scale-down their production by 70 per cent and are now facing difficulty in getting new markets.

Vanaspati ghee, a hydrogenated edible oil, is a popular Indian cooking medium, which is similar to margarine. The annual turnover of ghee industry is worth Rs 5.5 billion, while investment in the industry stands at over three billion rupees.