KATHMANDU, Nov 3: Nepal spends more than Rs 21 billion each year on imported cooking oil alone. And every year, the figure goes up, especially close to the festive seasons.
According to data from the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), Nepal imported cooking oil worth Rs 21.32 billion in the last fiscal year.
Soya bean, sunflower, olive, palm, coconut and mustard oils are the main types of oils imported during the festive season from various countries around the world.
Argentina seats at the top of the list of countries where the cooking oil Nepal uses originates from.
Last year, Nepal imported cooking oil worth Rs 7.03 billion from Argentina, followed by Brazil (Rs 3 billion) and Paraguay (Rs 1 billion).
Crude palm oil, worth Rs 2.85 billion, was imported last year from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Ukraine and Argentina.
Palm oil worth Rs 920.05 million came from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and India, among others.
Nepal imported raw soya bean oil worth Rs 12.36 billion from countries like Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Italy, Netherlands and the UK last year.
Soya bean oil worth Rs 400 million came from Malaysia, India and Indonesia.
Similarly 33,353 kg of olive oil, worth around Rs 100.70 million, was imported last fiscal year, mostly from India, China, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Australia.
The country imported 59,407 kg jaitun oil, worth Rs 30.01 million, from Spain, India, Italy and Turkey.
Similarly sunflower oil worth Rs 450.01 million was imported from China, UAE, Malaysia, Russia, Spain and Turkey.
Apart from these, coconut oil and crude cotton oil came from China and Malaysia; coconut seed oil from Malaysia; and maize oil and palm kernel oil from Malaysia and India.
During last year’s unofficial blockade imposed by India, consumers paid a high amount for cooking oil.
During that period, import of cooking oil from countries other than India was also affected.