India has begun importing corn (maize) from neighbouring Myanmar duty-free. At the very least three ships have arrived thus far at VO Chidambaranar Port in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi and some extra are set to drop anchor by July-end.

“Corn from Myanmar has begun arriving. Offers have been struck and three ships have already arrived. One other 10 are prone to arrive per offers signed until now,” stated Vangili Subramanian, Tamil Nadu Egg Poultry Farmers Advertising Society (PFMS) president. 

Initially, imports have been made at $268 a tonne however costs have now elevated. When contacted, Sanjay Sancheti, Nation Head, Olam Agro India Ltd, stated, “We now have introduced in a single cargo from Myanmar.” Requested if the imports have been at $268, he stated costs have gone up.

“I acquired a suggestion to purchase 10,000 tonnes of Myanmar maize at $286 for supply in July. However we didn’t go for it,” stated M Madan Prakash, President, Agri Commodities Exporters Affiliation. His agency Rajathi Group offers in imports and exports of agricultural produce akin to corn. 

Import obligation for different origins

Olam is among the many worldwide buying and selling companies which can be bringing the coarse cereal into the nation. “Imports from Mynamar are allowed duty-free as it’s thought of a least developed nation,” stated a world buying and selling home official with out wishing to be recognized. 

If corn is imported from some other nation, the Customs Division imposes a 60 per cent obligation moreover a 5 per cent IGST and 10 per cent social welfare surcharge. Nevertheless, the Centre permits tariff price quota (TRQ) imports at 15 per cent concessional obligation. In 2020, it allowed imports of 5 lt of corn underneath TRQ. 

Imports of maize, which may very well be practically three lakh tonnes going by the offers signed, may be duty-free if it may be re-exported as starch. “The primary ship from maize was meant for starch,” the official stated, including that the second was for ethanol manufacturing. “There may be demand from the Tamil Nadu poultry sector. Among the poultry companies within the State have procured the imported corn,” stated Subramanian. On his half, he has sourced corn from Bihar for his wants.

Import parity

“I get it right here (Namakkal in Tamil Nadu) at ₹26,000 a tonne. Imports have been on the identical charges,” stated the PFMS president. Commerce sources stated there may be good demand for corn from starch producers, ethanol producers and the poultry sector. 

At present, the weighted common worth of maize throughout agricultural produce advertising and marketing committee (APMC) yards within the nation is ₹2,091 a quintal towards the minimal assist worth of ₹2,090. Nevertheless, in a number of the APMCs in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka, they’re ruling larger at over ₹2,400. Throughout the identical time final yr, its costs have been ₹1,700.

On the Chicago Board of Commerce, corn July contracts are ruling at $4.49 a bushel ($176.76 or ₹14,775 a tonne). “Maize imports are required to fulfill the rising demand,” stated Subramanian.

Sounding warning

S Chandrasekaran, a New Delhi-based commerce analyst, stated the import of corn “by arbitrage of worth and preferential import tariff is a complete market distortion”. The federal government must take a cautious strategy on corn imports by developing with port restrictions and fixing minimal import worth, he stated. 

Jap and southern Indian farmers have been affected over the previous two years as a result of local weather change. With the monsoon forecast to be regular, farmers anticipate to reap good harvest and higher revenue, he stated, justifying the demand for the curbs. 

In line with merchants, the rabi maize crop has been affected as a result of vagaries of the climate in Bihar and West Bengal. The crop may very well be 10 per cent decrease in these States. Nevertheless, the PFMS president stated the Bihar crop is nice. 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, in its third advance estimate earlier this week, has pegged maize manufacturing at 35.67 million tonnes (mt) this crop yr ending this month towards 38.08 mt final yr. 

Mulling GM corn imports

Demand for corn within the nation has been rising with the poultry sector alone needing an extra 1 mt yearly. At present, its demand is estimated at round 16 mt. 

Aside from the poultry sector, the starch manufacturing trade and ethanol producers additionally want corn. This yr, particularly, demand for corn from the ethanol sector has elevated after the Centre banned the usage of sugarcane juice within the manufacture of ethanol. 

The ethanol sector used 0.8 mt of corn final fiscal and that is anticipated to extend to three.4 mt this fiscal earlier than rising to 10 mt by 2027-28..

The worldwide buying and selling home official stated as soon as ethanol manufacturing items, significantly in Bihar, started importing corn, the shipments will doubtless land in Visakhapatnam or Kolkatta ports.

On Could 31, businessline reported that the Centre is contemplating permitting the import of genetically modified (GM) corn at a decrease import obligation if not at zero obligation to bridge the provision deficit owing to rising consumption within the nation.

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