Following the shortage of maize to the tune of three lakh tonnes in Karnataka which has already hit the poultry sector, the Centre has notified import of one lakh tonnes of yellow maize (feed grade) under the TRQ (tariff rate quota) scheme.
The estimated shortfall in the country is 15 lakh tonnes.
Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders’ Association (KPFBA) president K.S. Akhilesh Babu, in a letter to Minister of Commerce Suresh Prabhu, said that “the shortfall in Karnataka alone is over three lakh tonnes and the all-India requirement is estimated to be over 15 lakh tonnes. In contrast, the permission to import one lakh tonnes is not helpful. It will not be sufficient to meet the needs of even a single State. Poultry farmers will continue to suffer from the shortfall”.
The government notification mentioned that there was “unprecedented” shortage of feed-grade maize mainly because of drought, pest attacks, and significant reduction in cultivable areas.
On April 15 this year, following the notification, the Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation (MMTC) floated a global tender for import of yellow maize (non-genetically modified organism, or GMO) under the TRQ scheme at 15% customs duty and meant only for actual users and not for trading. The KPFBA has already given a consolidated list of its actual users.
The poultry sector had requested the government to separately classify feed-grade maize from the popcorn-grade maize and allow import of the former under TRQ. The ministry said the process of classification has began wherein feed grade and popcorn grade will get different HS codes.
Mr. Babu also urged the government to exempt poultry farmers from payment of the 15% customs duty as the sector is going through a severe crisis. Because of short supply, the market price for maize is at its highest, leaving many farmers to starve their poultry as maize is the most preferred feed.