As the consumption of edible oils continues to grow in Bangladesh in pace with population growth and economic development, the import of the commodity also increases gradually and steadily. It may be mentioned here that due to agriculture land constraint and insufficient indigenous production, county is mainly dependent on import to meet the annual requirement of edible oils of the country and almost 90 to 92 per cent of annual requirement is met through import. Presently, on an average, 2.3 to 2.4 million tonnes of edible oils, both in oil form and in seeds form, are imported in the country. In the first half of 2018 (Jan-Jun), import of total oils and fats was 1.38 million tonnes against 1.28 million tonnes during the corresponding period of 2017 registering a growth of 8.35 per cent.
While more oils and fats from abroad are coming to Bangladesh, the import of palm oil has also been increasing significantly over the last three decades. Palm oil dominates the country's edible oils market occupying about 55 to 58 per cent market share of total edible oils market. Increased import of palm oil is contributing largely to the total import of oils and fats in the country. In the first six months of this year a total of 813,000 tonnes of palm oil was imported against 664,000 tonnes during the corresponding period of 2017 registering a noticeable growth of over 22 per cent.
Meanwhile, import of soybean oil (CDSBO), the main competitor of palm oil in Bangladesh, witnessed a negative growth of about 11 per cent this year compared to Jan-Jun period of 2017. A total of 418,000 tonnes of CDSBO was imported during first half of 2018 against 468,952 tonnes import during corresponding period of 2017. Besides, a quantity of about 554,000 tonnes of soybean was imported during first six months of 2018, the oil equivalent of which is 99,656 tonnes at the extraction rate of 18 per cent, witnessing a marginal growth of 2.93 per cent compared to Jan-Jun 2017.
Import of canola/mustard seed during Jan-Jun 2018 was 34,800 tonnes, oil equivalent of which is 13,324 tonnes at 38 per cent oil extraction rate, against 50,110 tonnes, oil equivalent of which is 19,042 tonnes, during the corresponding period of 2017. Import of coconut oil during Jan-Jun 2018 was 12,448 tonnes, witnessing a significant growth of over 206 per cent compared to Jan-Jun 2017.
According to experts concerned, import of edible oil in Bangladesh would continue to grow during the second half of the current year along with substantial growth of palm oil import. As gathered from the market an ever record quantity of palm oil would arrive in the country in 2018 provided prevailing price trend of palm oil prevails in the international market.
A. K. M. Fakhrul Alam is Country Manager -- Bangladesh & Nepal, Malaysian Palm Oil Council