India: Corn import tariffs reduced to boost poultry sector

02-07-2020 | | |
Maize forms a major part of the feed for the poultry sector. Photo: Vijaya Narasimha
Maize forms a major part of the feed for the poultry sector. Photo: Vijaya Narasimha

India has authorised the import of half a million tonnes of corn in 2020 at a concessional 15% import tax to augment supplies of animal feed for the poultry industry.

The country is the world’s 7th largest corn producer and normally imposes a 60% import tax on the grain.

The corn imports under the tariff-rate quota (TRQ) were allowed for end-consumers in the poultry and starch supply sectors, according to the government. India was once a major exporter of corn to southeast Asia, but the nation has become an importer as output has fallen and demand has grown from domestic poultry producers. India’s corn imports increased to 312,389 tonnes in 2019 from just 30,962 tonnes the previous year.

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Uplift the crippled poultry sector

This announcement comes at a time when millions of small poultry farmers across the country are reeling after poultrymeat sales crashed by 80% following false claims that chickens are carriers of the coronavirus, Poultry World reported earlier this month. First estimates are that India’s poultry industry has been losing US$ 1.5 million a day due to lower prices since early January. More than 25 million farmers earn their income in some form of poultry business in India. The recent crisis has severely destabilised the sector.

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Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist