In 2022-2023, India became the world's second-largest consumer of vegetable oils after China, importing around 17 million tons including 1.5 to 3 million tons of sunflower oil, constituting 10 to 15 percent of total imports.

Russia emerged as the leading provider of sunflower oil to the Indian market in 2023, with India's purchases soaring to over 9,00,000 tons, doubling from previous levels.

The figures were reported in a statement from the Federal State Budgetary Institution "Agroexport" under the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia.

"At the end of 2023, Russia became the largest supplier of sunflower oil to the Indian market. At the same time, India took first place among buyers of Russian sunflower oil, increasing its purchases more than twofold," the ministry noted. "The volume of Russian supplies exceeded 900 thousand tons. The situation with India's import of vegetable oils significantly affects the dynamics of Russian fat and oil exports."

India, ranking second globally in vegetable oil consumption after China, is the main importer of the commodity. In the 2022-2023 financial year alone, India imported around 17 million tons of vegetable oils with annual sunflower oil imports ranging between 1.5 and 3 million tons, constituting approximately 10 to 15 percent of the total vegetable oil imports.

"Agroexport" highlighted several factors that will shape the medium-term prospects for Russian vegetable oil exports. Notably, India's market exhibits a high sensitivity to pricing.

As part of its food security program, the Indian government aims to cut dependence on imported edible oils to 20 percent by 2030 by bolstering domestic palm oil production.

"In this situation, the final volume of India's import of vegetable oils from Russia will depend on both the success of the import substitution program and the price ratio of key vegetable oils: palm, soybean, and sunflower on the world market," the centre anticipated. "In the event of an increase in the share of Russian oil in the Indian market, the potential supply of sunflower and soybean oils in 2030 could reach 2 million tons."

(Russian Media Inputs)