PHOTO: RITESH TRIPATHI/ Cooking oil, produced at a plant based along the Birgunj-Pathlaiya corridor, ready to be exported to India.
BIRGUNJ, Aug 11: Nepali entrepreneurs have exported cooking oil worth Rs 12.67 billion to India after the export of cooking oil started in the Fiscal Year 2018/19.
The export of cooking oil resumed from December after India allowed the import on October 8, 2018. Nepal has exported 116,123.271 tons of cooking oil to India in the past seven months.
According to the statistics of Department of Customs, palm oil and soybean oil have been majorly exported to the Indian market. A total of 95,664.664 tons of palm oil worth Rs 10.35 billion has been exported. Similarly, 20,458.607 tons of soybean oil worth Rs 2.34 billion has been exported to India. The import data remained nil in the previous fiscal year.
The investment in cooking oil industry increased until the Fiscal Year 2000/01 as Nepali firms could produce and sell vegetable ghee in the Indian market. The export quantity from Nepal decreased as the Indian government limited the import of Nepali vegetable ghee to 100,000 tons in FY2001/02. Nepali vegetable ghee and oil industries suffered due to the quota announcement from the Indian side.
Plants had been established in Nepal with the aim of export, and they had the capacity to produce more ghee and oil than required in the domestic market. The plants located around the border survived for another five years on the basis of illegal export to the neighboring country. Locals have fresh memories of the illegal transportation of vegetable ghee in jars and packets of oil in cartons across the border. The products were then transported to bigger markets through trains.
Industrialists recall the discontinuation in the export of vegetable ghee because of the new tax base in India a decade ago. "The Nepali vegetable ghee industries started to face problems after the change in the tax base in India," said Om Prakash Sikariya, past president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Birgunj chapter, "Most plants were shut down. Nepali industrialists converted the units producing vegetable ghee to refined oil-producing units."
The export of palm oil and soybean oil has started after a long interval. The ratio of palm oil in the export index is high. Industrialists, however, don't have the hope of revival of the export of vegetable oil as its consumers have are very minimum. Industrialists are expected to recuperate as the export of oil has been resumed. They import crude oil from foreign countries and refine and repack in Nepal. The maximum import of cooking oil has taken place from Birgunj border. Cooking oil worth Rs 772 million were exported from Birgunj border in the FY 2018/19.