Kochi, Dec 7 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh today said banning palm oil import through all South Indian ports would be 'unrealistic' as this would adversely affect the palm oil consumers in the rest of the country.
Talking to newspersons here, Mr Ramesh said ''for the people in other states, palm oil was a preferred edible oil and more than 50 per cent of the oil was imported through ports in South India.'' He said the Centre had banned the import of plam oil through Kochi port and was considering the Kerala Government's request to extend the ban to the Beypore Port in Kozhikode district.
The government was sensitive towards the import of palm oil and its impact on the traditional coconut growers in the state, he added.
The domestic oil consumption was increasing and there should be a proper equation between edible oil supply and demand, and to maintain that the import of palm oil was imperative, he noted.
The Centre was taking measures to ensure that the import duty on palm oil did not fell below 50 per cent in the Free Trade Agreement with the ASEAN countries.