02 Aug

India: Olive oil consumption likely to rise 9 times by 2012

Olive oil consumption in the country is estimated to rise over 9 times in the next four years, fed by an increasingly affluent mobile consumer class’ obsession with nutritious food.

“Olive oil consumption is pegged at 42,218 tons by 2012, growing at a rate of 75 per cent a year. The target for this year stands at 4,500 tons,” Indian Olive Association President V N Dalmia said, addressing its first annual session here today.

The consumption of this oil has picked up by 73 per cent in the last two years, he added.

“The high-end Indian consumer doesn’t mind paying extra bucks for a healthy diet. Olive oil has components which help check cardiac diseases,” Dalmia said.

Though the government has reduced import duty on olive oil to 7.5 per cent from 45 per cent, the prices remain stable owing to a continuous rise in euro against rupee, he said.

Olive oil prices in the domestic market ranges from Rs 400 to Rs 900 for different grades. India imports whole of the olive oil available in the domestic market.

The country is taking to the olive plantation for the first time in the form of a pilot project in Rajasthan in collaboration with an Israeli firm Indolibe Enterprises for cultivation in over 250 hectares.

“If the projects becomes a success, the Rajasthan government is planning to extend the cultivation to about 25 million hectares,” Dalmia said.

The Rajasthan project is a three-way joint venture between the state government, Pune-based Plassron Industries and the Israeli firm.

Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have also announced similar projects with Indolibe and Spain-based Sojivit respectively for cultivation in over 300 hectares.

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