Mr. Atul Chaturvedi, a cognoscente in vegetable oil/seeds and agro business of the country has been serving as the President of the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) for the last 3 years and will now continue to serve in the same capacity for next year as well. The announcement of his re-election was made recently at the Association’s Annual General Meeting in Mumbai.
During the tenure as SEA President, Mr. Chaturvedi took up various progressive issues like increasing the differential duty between crude and refined oils, paving new ways for bulk export of edible oils, authorizing minor oils in chocolate, hiking the import duty on edible oils, removal of storage control on oil and oilseeds and many more.
Mr. Chaturvedi is currently the Director at Adani Wilmar Ltd and Executive Chairman of Shree Renuka Sugars Ltd.
In a conversation with ChiniMandi.com, Mr. Atul Chaturvedi expressed his views about his tenure again as the President of SEA and his insights about the sugar industry where he is representing India’s largest sugar refiner and ethanol producer.
Q. Your tenure as a President proved to be very fruitful to the industry with the various developments under your leadership, what is the perspective for the tenure again?
A. Edible Oil Industry continues to face a lot of headwinds. Oil seed production is stagnating in our country resulting in very low capacity utilization in Crushing Industry. Port based Palm Refineries have been in trouble on account of low differential between imported Crude Palm Oil and Refined Palmolien.
Our focus going forward would be to work towards increasing Oilseed production and ensuring that our dependence on imports remains within reasonable levels and our Edible Oil Security is not compromised. For the Palm Refining Industry we would continue to work towards increasing the duty difference between CPO and Palmolien to ensure the viability.
Q. The vegetable oil/seed industry has endured great eminence with your presence and management. While we talk about the sugar industry what are your views on the way forward and according to you what other steps does the Govt. need to take considering the need of time?
A. The Government has taken many proactive steps to ensure the health of the stake holders in the sugar industry and the results are showing the same. The only thing which we feel GOI should do is to release the MAEQ benefits to the industry immediately after exports are completed. Needless to say, the industry suffers from liquidity issues and this does not encourage exports with huge amounts stuck as receivabl from GOI.
The monthly release mechanism has helped stabilize prices, however the carrying cost of the sugar is quite high and we feel the Govt. should increase the selling price every quarter at least to the extent of interest, say 10% per annum basis.
Q. Today, barely 2% of the total sugar produced is packaged and sold, apart from awareness in the market, what needs to be done according to you to bring packaged sugar to pivot?
A. Sugar is in the same situation as Edible Oil was two decades back. We feel consumers are now becoming quite conscious and the future of branded sugar is great. How long can we continue to buy loose sugar with all its attendant issues!!
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