July 3, 2015
India mulls over 10% tariff on wheat imports
Adequate stocks of wheat, coupled with a bumper harvest in the 2014-15 crop year, had prompted India into mulling over a 10% import duty to control shipments.
With no such tariff at the moment as well as a shortage of high-quality grains, wheats are delivered to the country, at low international prices.
During the current marketing year which started on April, India's Food Corporation of India (FCI) had acquired 27.6 million tonnes of wheat but "20% to 30%" of grains were found to be inferior and need to be disposed of, a senior government official said.
"The Food Ministry has proposed imposition of the duty on wheat imports. A final call on this issue would be taken after consultation with the ministries concerned," the official added.
The proposal came despite a slow influx of high-quality wheat entering the market. In addition, less stringent requirements for grain procurements had led the FCI to purchase even poor quality wheat in order to protect farmers' livelihoods after unseasonal rain and hailstorms caused considerable crop damages during February to April, the Economic Times reported.
While India's wheat production had fallen from 95.85 million tonnes in the 2013-14 season to 90.78 million tonnes in 2014-15, the FCI managed to build a wheat stock amounting to 40 million tonnes.