July 24, 2019


Indian poultry firms turn to Myanmar for duty-free corn

As local supplies dried up in the past few weeks, Indian poultry firms have found a new source for duty-free corn - Myanmar - Cogencis reported.


Indian buyers have forged deals to import 8,000-10,000 tonnes of corn from Myanmar, at prices ranging from US$277-290 per tonne, depending on port of delivery.


Corn imported from Myanmar is duty-free as India allows import of certain commodities from the least developed countries at nil duty, regardless of import limits. Myanmar has been categorised a Least Developed Country by the United Nations since 1987.


Further deals are likely to be limited as the corn 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 million tonnes this season, the bulk 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.


Indian domestic supplies have mostly dried up, and the next crop would be available only by October.


Imports have been difficult, as India generally levies 60% duty on import, and allows import of only non-genetically modified corn, which is available in only a few countries.


To help poultry feed producers, the government earlier this year allowed import of 100,000 tonnes of non-GM corn at a reduced import duty of 15% through state-trading agencies.


State-trading agencies MMTC and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) floated tenders to import 50,000 tonnes of corn each, but only NAFED has decided to import.


The government earlier this July allowed import of another 400,000 tonnes of corn at reduced duty.


Traders said the latest decision has come too late, as shipments arriving close to the next crop season in the domestic market would be unviable.


While the government has forecast total corn output this year at 27.8 million tonnes, just a 3% dip from the previous year, most industry estimates see production lower than 20 million tonnes.


Low supplies have led mill-gate corn prices to a record high of US$362 per tonne in southern India, a Bangalore-based broker said.