India to halt duty free soyoil imports from April 1

FILE PHOTO: Gopal erects wooden log at his soybean field to tie barbed wires, on the outskirts of his village near Kota

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India will halt duty free imports of crude soyoil from April 1, the government said on Wednesday, as the world's biggest importer of vegetable oils tries to support local oilseed farmers.

New Delhi in May 2022 allowed duty free imports of 2 million tonnes of soyoil in 2022/23 and had initially planned another 2 million tonnes of duty free imports in 2023/24.

The government will continue duty free imports of 2 million tonnes of crude sunflower oil in the current and the next fiscal year to March 2024, the government said.

India imports soyoil mainly from Argentina, Brazil and the United States and sources sunflower oil from Russia and Ukraine.

The discontinuation in duty free imports would help rival palm oil, which attracts import duties, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trade house.

"Palm oil will find a level playing field. Sunflower oil will also become attractive," he said.

India imports palm oil mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)