NEW DELHI: Indian government has reduced the customs duty on imports of rice bran and rice bran oil cake to nil from the earlier 15 per cent.
According to a Finance Ministry notification, the nil duty on rice bran and rice bran oil cake will be effective from October 1.
As a result, the imports of rice bran from neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh may turn viable.
“An estimated 50,000 to one lakh tonnes of rice bran could be imported from the neighbouring countries depending on the price parity” said B.V.Mehta, Executive Director of the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEAI).
Rice bran oil is extracted from rice bran through the solvent extraction method. Rice bran, the brown layer on rice grain, has 10-25 per cent oil content. After extracting the oil, the meal or the rice bran oil cake is used as cattle feed.
So far, there have been no imports of rice bran into the country as it was unviable due to higher customs duty of 15 per cent. SEAI had recently urged the Government to reduce the customs duty to make imports more attractive to meet the rising domestic demand for rice bran oil.
India’s rice bran oil production is estimated at around 9 lakh tonnes annually, according to industry estimates. Of this, about three lakh tonnes is used directly as edible oil and the rest is used to blend with other edible oils and in vanaspati.
The demand for rice bran oil is on the rise as it is considered healthy and an affordable cooking medium.