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Gujarat millers seek govt support to popularise groundnut oil

Peanut Market News June 12, 2018

Gujarat millers seek govt support to popularise groundnut oil

Even as the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed) tries to dispose off its huge groundnut stocks, Gujarat’s oil millers have pinned their hopes on the government to push up the consumption of groundnut oil.

Till late 1980s, groundnut oil had a larger share in the overall edible oil consumption. But factors such as price, availability and instances of adulteration brought down the groundnut oil consumption to merely 3 per cent in the overall kitty.

Most of the groundnut oil consumers had converted to cotton-seed oil, which witnessed sharp surge after Bt-cotton revolution. According to trade estimate, the current stock with Nafed is sufficient for the oil millers to last for next nine months. But lack of demand may pose the threat of the edible oil stocks piling up.

Eyes on govt support

Flagging this concern, trade body Saurashtra Oil Mills Association (SOMA) appealed to the Gujarat government for taking steps to encourage groundnut oil consumption.

“The government should also encourage consumption of groundnut oils from the fair price shops. Also, groundnut oil is rich in nutrients and proved to be healthy. There is a lack of awareness among common consumers about this. The government needs to take steps to spread awareness about this,” a letter by SOMA said.

Gujarat — the largest producer of the oilseed — witnessed a bumper groundnut crop of 32 lakh tonnes (lt) for kharif 2017 as against 29 lt in the previous season.

Following a sharp drop in the prices due to excess production, Nafed procured about 8.3 lt under the price support scheme (PSS).

Oil millers have expressed their helplessness over limited marketing efforts to popularise groundnut oil.

Price-conscious market

“Doctors and nutrition experts acknowledge the health benefits of groundnut oil. But multinational companies have marketed their refined oils well. This makes them more popular, while due to lack of proper marketing efforts, groundnut oil fails to make such impact,” said Pradipbhai Khetani of ‘Ankur’ brand of groundnut oil.

Currently, about 200 crushing units are operational in the cluster around the districts of Jamnagar, Junagadh and Rajkot in Saurashtra.

Interestingly, large players have very small or negligible presence of groundnut oil in their overall edible oil portfolio.

Quality issues

Experts noted that inspite of a bumper crop, there are thin chances of an increase in groundnut oil consumption. Govind G Patel, an edible oil expert, maintained that in the past, groundnut oil faced price competition with other edible oils, besides instances of widespread adulteration.

“Consumers have switched over to cottonseed oil, palm oil and soya oil. Therefore, they are now reluctant to go back to groundnut oil. It looks difficult to increase groundnut oil consumption considering these factors,” Patel said, adding that the price difference between other oils and groundnut oil has reduced significantly.

However, a section of millers believe that while raising the consumption of groundnut oil remains a key challenge, the trend is more positive towards peanuts — for table-top consumption.

”We see strong demand for peanuts both overseas and in local markets and it is growing. Also, whenever groundnut oil prices drop, we see the consumption growing but at a slower pace. If the rate is in the range of ?1,500-1,700 per 15 kg it is accepted by the consumers,” said Mukesh Nathwani of ‘Gulab’brand of groundnut oil.

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/gujarat-millers-seek-govt-support-to-popularise-groundnut-oil/article24137829.ece

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