India to import 5 lakh tonnes of maize
The Dollar Business Bureau
India will import 5 lakh tonnes of maize (corn) to keep a check on its domestic price rise and hoarding.
A tweet by her ministry said that the Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has approved importing of 5,00,000 MT of maize under Tariff Rate Quota by a state trading enterprise.
The decision to import maize has been taken amid the fall in domestic production of the crop and to check its price rise and prevent hoarding.
As part of the Tariff Rate Quota Scheme, the government approves inbound shipments of four products, including corn, at concessional rates of customs duty.
Under the Tariff Rate Quota Scheme, the import duty on maize is zero. Currently, the import duty on maize is 50%.
Last month, state-owned trading company PEC had sought bids for import of 50,000 tonnes of maize to boost domestic supplies.
The Agriculture Ministry estimates the domestic maize production to fall to 21.02 million tonnes in current financial year from 23.67 million tonnes in the previous.
India has traditionally been a major maize exporter to South East Asia, but drought during the last two years and increasing domestic demand has hit the country’s export.
The drought has also affected India’s overall pulses production. In the wake of its shortfall, the government has announced it would increase import of pulses to enhance domestic availability and check the crop’s price rise. India has so far imported 46,000 tonnes of pulses to stimulate its domestic supply.