Farm panel member hints at further hike in edible oil import duty.

The recent increase in the import duty on edible oils is insufficient and the government may soon raise the duty again to protect the interests of farmers. The government, on Aug 11, raised the import duty on crude palm oil to 15% from 7.5%, and that on crude soyoil to 17.5% from 12.5%. The import duty on refined palm oil was raised to 25% from 15%. The new structure increased the difference in duty between crude and refined palm oil to 10 percentage points from 7.5. Import duties were increased to stem the fall in local soybean prices that had dropped below the minimum support price, and were weighing on mustard prices as well. Despite the increase in import duties, soybean prices were still low, and there was a strong case for a further hike in import duty.