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The Indian government’s director-general of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has extended the ban on palm oil imports through Kerala ports until further notice, the Hindu Business Line reported.

It has also extended the import duty waiver on refined palm oil and palm olein oil, according to the 3 January report.

Both the duty waiver and the ban on imports at Kerala ports had been due to end on 31 December, the report said.

The government banned imports of palm oil through Kerala ports in 2007 in a bid to protect coconut growers.

India’s extension of the palm oil import ban reportedly followed a request from the Coconut Development Board’s and various farmer organisations, who were concerned about increased arrivals, especially after Indonesia lifted restrictions on palm oil exports in May last year.

Cochin Port Users Forum had urged the DGFT to lift the palm oil import restrictions to boost the port’s revenue, the Hindu Business Line wrote, pointing out that the ban had not achieved its aim of curbing falling coconut oil prices.

However, industry sources had noted that there was no point in continuing with the ban through Kerala ports, as imported palm oil was still flowing freely to the state by road after being unloaded at Tuticorin and New Mangalore ports, the report said.