Kitchens feel the heat of Ukraine war as cooking oil prices soar

People are busy storing cooking oil, worrying that they may have to face a cooking oil shortage in near future.

Published: 10th March 2022 08:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th March 2022 08:49 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

The impact of the Russia-Ukraine war is already being felt in India. While our students studying there faced problems, now our kitchens too are facing the heat as prices of cooking oil have started soaring since the outbreak of the war.

People are busy storing cooking oil, worrying that they may have to face a cooking oil shortage in near future. A reality check conducted across the stores of Davangere and Chitradurga showed that there is a severe scarcity of sunflower oil that is widely used in Indian Kitchens and cuisine.

The price of sunflower oil that stood at Rs 141 on February 23 - the day war broke out - now stands at Rs 186 in wholesale market and Rs195 in retail market. Except for the oil packed by the co-operative oil major Karnataka Oil Federation, no other brand of sunflower oil is available in the market. Groundnut oil that was selling at Rs 60 per litre on Feb 23 is now being sold at Rs184 per litre. However, there is no change in the prices of the Palmolein oil, coconut oil, olive oil and other cooking oils.

Experts in the field of oil repacking units told TNIE that if the war continues even after two or three days, there are chances of severe scarcity of oil in the market and the real trouble will start then. This will lead to an increase in the import of the palmolein oil that is imported from South East Asian countries.

Speaking to TNIE, commercial officer of Karnataka Oil Federation Mahanandi said: "There is a sharp increase in the prices of cooking oil, especially sunflower oil that is being imported from Ukraine in large quantity. The refineries that were supplying us the oil have informed us that there is no supply of oil and once the contract is over, the supply will be stopped."

He also said that in the last 15 days, there is a sudden jump in prices of the Sunflower oil by Rs 50. The prices, which were standing at Rs 141 on Feb 23 are now being sold at Rs 186 in wholesale and Rs 195 in retail.

Replying to a question on the shortfall in supply, he said the shortage of sunflower oil supply has led to this surge. People are also purchasing large quantities of oil, fearing scarcity in future.

"If there is a shortage of sunflower oil, palmolein oil can be used as an alternative and it is on standby at Karnataka Oil Federation. People need not worry about the supply of cooking oil in future," he said, allaying fears.

"Except one litre, two litre and five litre cans supplied by Karnataka Oil Federation, 15 litre tins are not available. We are selling oil at Rs 95 per litre while having MRP of Rs 210 on it. During Shivaratri, we sold oil at Rs 140 per litre but now suddenly the prices have skyrocketed," said Govind, owner of Sangameshwara Store in Chitradurga.

"We are getting only Sun Gold oil from KOF and all other brands are out of stock. As sunflower oil is mostly used in South Indian kitchens, people are rushing to store as much oil as possible anticipating shortage," he added.

Oil stock withdrawn

A cooking oil expert, on condition of anonymity said major oil suppliers in the country have withdrawn oil from the market anticipating hike in prices, because of which there is a shortage of supply.

Joint director food and civil supplies Manteswamy agreed on the fact that the price of the sunflower oil has escalated during last nine days and the department, along with department of legal metrology is keeping a close watch on oil sales in the market. "In case of any complaints about hoarding, black marketing and selling the product above the market price, we will be initiating legal proceedings. We will ensure smooth sales of the oil in the market," he said.

Mid-day meals get affected

Manteswamy also said that the mid-day meals programme will also get derailed if there is no availability of the sunflower oil from Karnataka Oil Federation and said that they have placed sufficient indent to the co-operative for supply of oil till the closure of the academic year


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