Poultry firms turn to Myanmar for import of duty-free maize

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2019


By Stuti Chawla


NEW DELHI – Indian poultry firms, desperately seeking maize to feed the fowls, have found a new source for duty-free maize–Myanmar.


Indian buyers have forged deals to import 8,000-10,000 tn of maize from Myanmar over the last few weeks as local supplies have dried up, dealers said.


Maize imported from Myanmar is duty-free as India allows import of certain commodities from least developed countries at nil duty, irrespective of the curbs placed on imports. Myanmar has been categorised a Least Developed Country by the United Nations since 1987.


Traders have bought maize from Myanmar in containers at prices ranging between $277 and $290 a tn, depending on port of delivery, one of the sources said.


Further deals, however, are likely to be limited, as maize season in Myanmar has ended, and the country has already exported most of its surplus, dealers said. The country had an exportable surplus of about 1.4 mln tn maize this season, most which has been sold to China.


"Indian traders discovered this route for import of maize quite late this season…By the time they did, the maize season in Myanmar was over," an official with a leading poultry firm said.


Poultry firms and feed manufacturers have been desperately looking for import of maize, as domestic supplies have largely dried up, and the next crop would be available only by October.


Imports have been tough, as India levies 60% duty on import, and allows import of only non-genetically modified maize, which is available in only a handful of countries.


To help poultry feed manufacturers, the government earlier this year allowed import of 100,000 tn non-GM maize at a reduced import duty of 15% under the tariff rate quote, provided the imports were routed through state-trading agencies.


State-trading agencies MMTC and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation floated tenders to import 50,000 tn maize each, but only NAFED has decided to import maize so far.


The government earlier this month allowed import of another 400,000 tn maize under the tariff rate quota at the reduced duty.


Traders said the decision to increase the quota for maize imports has come too late, as shipments landing in the country close to the crop arrival season in the domestic market would be unviable.


The poultry industry, the largest consumer of maize in the country, has been finding it tough to source maize, as the crop size is seen smaller this year.


Though the government has pegged total maize output this year at 27.8 mln tn, only 3% lower from the previous year, most industry estimates see production lower than 20 mln tn.


Low supplies have pushed mill-gate maize prices to a record high of 25,000 rupees a tn in southern India, a Bangalore-based broker said. 


End-users are hoping that imports will ease the supply crunch in the coming days and cool down prices, the broker said.  End


US$1 = 68.94 rupees


Edited by Ashish Shirke


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