` Indian Olive Association Meets in New Delhi - Olive Oil Times

Indian Olive Association Meets in New Delhi

Nov. 3, 2012
Vikas Vij

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The Indian Olive Association (IOA) held its 5th Annual Session in New Delhi on November 1. VN Dalmia, pres­i­dent of IOA, said India’s olive oil imports had grown by nearly 40 per­cent from 5,000 tons in 2010-11 to 6,900 tons in 2011-12. Imports in the first quar­ter of the cur­rent finan­cial year 2012 – 13 stood at 2,300 tons, lead­ing to the Association’s expec­ta­tions that total imports dur­ing 2012 – 13 would exceed 10,000 tons.

India’s celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor, who hosts the cook­ing show Khana Khazana, was the chief guest at the meet­ing. Addressing the ses­sion, Kapoor pledged his sup­port to greater use of olive oil in India. He said that given the high inci­dence of lifestyle dis­eases in India, there is no alter­na­tive to olive oil if the sit­u­a­tion is to be improved. Kapoor also pointed out that the food habits of Indians were chang­ing and a greater adop­tion of olive oil in the was tak­ing place due to its ease of use, mak­ing it well-suited for the Indian kitchen.

During the ses­sion, VN Dalmia rec­om­mended the sub­sti­tu­tion of unhealthy fried snacks with table olives. He said the con­sump­tion of healthy table olives was restricted in India due to high import duties. With an import duty rate rang­ing between 44 and 51 per­cent, it is among the high­est in the world despite the fact that India does not have any domes­tic pro­duc­tion of table olives to war­rant pro­tec­tion from cheaper imports.

Dalmia pointed out that the encour­ag­ing growth of olive oil con­sump­tion in India is being dri­ven by a grow­ing con­scious­ness towards health­ier foods, and the unfor­tu­nate fact that India leads the world in car­diac prob­lems. One in 10 peo­ple in India is esti­mated to be affected by car­diac prob­lems. According to WHO, heart dis­ease will be the sin­gle biggest killer in India by 2015.

Health prop­er­ties of olive oil com­pared to other cook­ing oils can con­tribute sig­nif­i­cantly to improv­ing the gen­eral heart health in India. However, the olive oil indus­try in the coun­try faces a key chal­lenge due to the out­moded trade stan­dards used by FSSAI. The IOA has been try­ing to raise the issue with FSSAI, but the Indian stan­dards are yet to be aligned with inter­na­tional stan­dards such as CODEX or those of the EU or the International Olive Council.

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