` India’s Olive Oil Imports Sharply Higher - Olive Oil Times

India’s Olive Oil Imports Sharply Higher

Apr. 27, 2011
Vikas Vij

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The olive oil mar­ket in India has been expand­ing rapidly on the back of increased con­sump­tion. India’s total import of olive oil in 2010 stood at 4,187 tons com­pared to 2,617 tons in 2009. This rep­re­sents a jump of nearly 60 per­cent in the vol­ume of imports in a sin­gle year.

The bulk of these imports came from Spain and Italy, which together con­sti­tute about 90 per­cent of India’s olive oil imports. Apart from these major olive oil pro­duc­ers, Turkey sup­plied about 5 per­cent of the total imports in 2010. Portugal is another European nation that is keenly look­ing at boost­ing its trade vol­umes with India by sup­ply­ing olive oil, among other prod­ucts.

India has become a sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket for olive oil in recent years. There is an increased aware­ness in India about the numer­ous health ben­e­fits of olive oil. It is no longer per­ceived as a rich man’s fancy food, but a truly healthy food. However, this new­found aware­ness is largely restricted to the upper and mid­dle eco­nomic sec­tions of the soci­ety in the urban areas. A very large por­tion of the Indian mar­ket is still wait­ing to be tapped.

The olive oil indus­try in India received a major boost in 2007 with the for­ma­tion of the Indian Olive Association (IOA), which became the apex body for pro­duc­ers, importers, and con­sumers of olive oil in the coun­try. Within a year of its for­ma­tion, the IOA man­aged to con­vince the Indian gov­ern­ment to reduce the cus­toms duties on all grades of olive oil. The result was a major reduc­tion of import duty from the pre­vi­ous 40 to 45 per­cent to a flat duty of 7.5 per­cent on all grades of olive oil.

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The import duty reduc­tion rep­re­sents a clear endorse­ment of the Indian gov­ern­ment about the health ben­e­fits of olive oil. This is an oppor­tu­nity for the global olive oil indus­try to look at India as a major poten­tial mar­ket with a very large con­sump­tion of edi­ble oils. The ris­ing con­scious­ness of the Indian con­sumers about healthy foods makes the task eas­ier to pro­mote olive oil as an excel­lent healthy alter­na­tive to the tra­di­tional cook­ing oils used by the aver­age Indian house­hold.



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