April 29, 2019

Indian poultry sector in Karnataka struggles with shortfall of corn


Poultry farmers in the Indian state of Karnataka - who are recently affected by a shortage of corn amounting to over three lakh tonnes - have been notified of an approved import of one lakh tonnes of yellow maize (feed grade) under a tariff rate quota (TRQ) scheme, The Hindu reported.

The estimated shortfall of corn in India is 15 lakh tonnes.

In a letter to the country's Minister of Commerce Suresh Prabhu, KS Akhilesh Babu, president of Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders' Association (KPFBA), said that "the all-India requirement is estimated to be over 15 lakh tonnes."

Babu added that  "the permission to import one lakh tonnes is not helpful" as the amount is inadequate to fulfill the needs of a single state while poultry farmers will remain affected by the shortfall.

The government notification claimed an "unprecedented" shortage of feed-grade corn due to drought, pest attacks and significant reduction in cultivable areas.

On April 15, following the notification, the Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation (MMTC) floated a global tender for import of yellow maize of non-genetically modified organism (GMO) types (meant only got users and not for trading) under the TRQ scheme at 15% customs duty. The KPFBA had provided a consolidated list of its actual users.

In addition, the poultry sector requested the government to separately classify feed-grade corn from the popcorn-grade types and allow import of the former under the TRQ. The ministry said the process of classification has began wherein feed grade and popcorn grade will get different codes.

Babu also urged the government to exclude poultry farmers from payment of the 15% customs duty as the poultry sector is currently dealing with a crisis. Tight supply had caused the market price for corn to reach its highest, leading to a widespread starvation of local poultry birds.

- The Hindu