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Mustard oil price breaks all records in Kolkata

Date: 18-01-2021
Subject: Mustard oil price breaks all records in Kolkata
KOLKATA: The record rise of mustard oil price has again added pain to households already struggling with reduced earnings or job losses. Mustard oil, an essential cooking medium across eastern and north-eastern India has breached its previous records to sell at Rs160-Rs 280 (premium brand) a litre in Kolkata. Even a year ago, it was selling at Rs 90-Rs 95 a litre. 

The price of mustard oil is now at a record high, thanks to fast-finishing mustard stock. This time, however, the production is good. Although new mustard is being harvested, anti-farm law agitation across Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan have hit the harvesting and timely dispatch to oil mills. So, the mustard oil production was hit hard, said Jayanta Biswas, an agro-economist. 

A Bengali family of five on an average requires five litres of mustard oil a month. “So, it is a straight increase of Rs 300-350 per month only on mustard oil, compared to last year. If you take into account a couple of litres of white oils — soya or sunflower oil — the bill gets higher,” said Anindita Ghosh, a homemaker from Bhawanipore. 

Since edible oil price is largely determined by soya and palm oils, which is widely used as cooking medium across rest of India, the lower import of these two varieties of edible oil left a yawning gap between the demand and supply, spiking edible oil prices across the categories. 

Edible oil, across all categories, has seen a steep price rise. “Groundnut oil price rose from Rs156 last year to Rs170 this year. Soybean oil from Rs80 to Rs130. Rice bran oil from Rs 75-80 to Rs125-140,” added Biswanath Agawal, general secretary, Posta Merchants Association. He added that the prices are unlikely to drop till the new oil seeds reach the mills in February-March. 

Taking advantage of the gap in demand and supply, retailers have started selling edible oil at MRP, which is normally Rs 20-30 higher than the normal price. 


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