India's prohibition on import of palm oil affects Nepali industries

BIRGUNJ: Most of the vegetable oil and ghee industries in Parsa and Bara districts have been affected after India imposed a ban on import of palm oil.

It is estimated that 90 percent of these industries are adversely affected due to restriction on import decreed by India. Large investments of industrialists are at risk following the decision.

Demand for palm oil is high in India and it is one of the major items of export for Nepal.

The refined palm oil which had been in the list of exporting goods in fiscal year 2018/19 was removed from the list from July 16 to December 15 in this fiscal year.

The Indian government has banned the import of palm oil saying that re-entry of the product into India has affected the Indian industries.

"India's unilateral prohibition on palm oil has pushed 90 percent of oil industries in Parsa and Bara on the verge of closure," Subodh Kumar Gupta, President of Nepal Rice, Lentils, Oil Industry Association, said.

Palm oil worth Rs 18.31 billion was exported to India from Nepal through the Birgunj customs point last year. Fourteen oil industries in Parsa and Bara districts alone exported 160 thousand metric tonnes of palm oil worth Rs 11.72 billion to India via Birgunj customs transit.

However, palm oil export to India has halted since last April after India imposed a ban on the import of this commodity, customs officer at Birgunj customs office, Ramesh Sukamani, said.

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