DHAKA: Import of palm oil in Bangladesh increased substantially this year, and is expected to cross the mark of 500,000 tonnes before the end of 2003.
“Palm oil is now dominating the Bangladeshi market and the share of palm oil in local edible oil market is now over 50%,” said AKM Fakhrul Alam, country manager of Malaysian Palm Oil Promotion Council (MPOPC) for Bangladesh.
Official statistics show that the quantity of edible oil imported in Bangladesh during January 2003 to December 2003 would be about one million tonnes, of which over 900,000 tonnes have already been imported.
Another 100,000 tonnes are expected to reach the Chittagong seaport before Dec 31.
The imported edible oils include over 500,000 tonnes of palm oil, most of which were imported directly from Malaysia. The rest are from Indonesia through Singapore-based trading houses.
The statistics also show that import of edible oil, including palm oil, in Bangladesh this year also registered a significant growth of over 12% compared to last year.
Fakhrul said increasing consumer awareness about the benefits of palm oil, its comparatively lower price than soybean oil and the launch of several consumer packs of the oil have all contributed to the increase in palm oil’s share of the edible oil market in Bangladesh.
In 1995, share of palm oil in the imported edible oil market in Bangladesh was only 10%, and the market was dominated by soybean oil.
But the scenario started changing from that year, and palm oil now occupies over 50% share in the country’s edible oil market. Soybean oil’s share is a little over 42% and mustard and rapeseed oil make up the rest.
“Only 10 years ago, palm oil’s market in Bangladesh remained limited within 100,000 tonnes a year, but now the annual import of palm oil has increased five times said Fakhrul, who described it as a significant development.
“And over 50% of this oil is coming from Malaysia,” he added.
During the last few years, the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) of Malaysia has been assisting the MPOPC to expand palm oil’s market in Bangladesh.
“Felda’s active presence helped us a lot to expand palm oil’s market in this country,” Fakhrul said. - Bernama