Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has said the government is looking to ramp up the production of rice bran and mustard oil to reduce dependency on the international market for cooking oil amid a shortage and a hike in prices.
“We’re trying to reduce dependency on palm and soybean oil by ramping up the production of locally made rice bran and mustard oil,” he said on Wednesday.
Bangladesh imports almost 90 per cent of the cooking oil it needs from the international market, said the commerce minister, reports bdnewws24.com.
He said Bangladesh currently produces 50,000-60,000 tonnes of rice bran oil annually and it is possible to raise the production to 700,000 tonnes “easily”.
"People should be informed about the benefits of using rice bran oil. Doctors should speak up about this," he said in a meeting of the task force to control prices.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine caused a hike in oil prices amid the coronavirus pandemic. The government reduced the value-added tax, or VAT, and duty on imports of cooking oil to tackle the situation.
The measures had made the market stable but soybean oil vanished from shelves ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, forcing the authorities to increase the price of cooking oil by up to Tk 40 per litre.
Operations by the National Consumer Rights Protection Directorate revealed many traders are hoarding hundreds of thousands of litres of cooking oil with an intention to sell them at a higher price.