Government allows duty-free import of maize up to five lakh tonnes

With maize production likely to drop for the second straight year due to drought, the government has allowed state-owned PEC to import 5,00,000 tonnes of maize at zero duty to meet starch and poultry industry’s demand.
At present, maize attracts 50 per cent import duty. The zero duty concession on the overseas purchase of maize has been given under the tariff rate quota (TRQ) following representation from poultry, starch and animal feed industry.
“The Commerce Ministry has allowed import of 5,00,000 tonnes of non-genetically modified (GM) maize at zero duty under the TRQ. PEC Ltd has been made canalising agency to undertake the import,” a senior government official told.
A circular in this regard was issued during December-end. Accordingly, PEC has floated a global tender for import of 3,20,000 tonnes of non-GM yellow maize to boost domestic supply from January, the official said.
The non-GM maize is mostly available in Europe. PEC will import maize at zero duty and further supply it to the industry. India had last imported maize in 1991.
As per the tender document, bids are to be submitted by January 11 and the decision on tenders will be taken on the same day. The bids will be valid upto January 14.
Imported yellow maize should reach Indian ports — Kandla Magdalla, JSW Jaigarh, Vishakhapatnam, Tuticorin and Kolkata by February.
Bidders should bid for a minimum quantity of 70,000 tonnes for delivery at JSW Jaigarh, 40,000 tonnes for Kandla and Vishakhapatnam, 30,000 tonnes for Magdalla, 35,000 tonnes for Tuticorin and 25,000 for Kolkata. Bidders may bid for the quantities at any/all ports, the PEC said.
The country is facing a supply shortage of maize used in the starch, poultry and animal feed industry on possible fall in maize output for the second consecutive year because of drought in ten states.
According to the industry, maize output is likely to drop by up to 40 per cent in the 2015-16 crop year (July-June) due to 14 per cent deficit in monsoon rains. Maize production had dropped to 23.67 million tonnes in 2014-15 too from the record of 24.26 million tonnes in the previous year.
Maize prices have shot up by more than 25 per cent to Rs 1,450 per quintal in last few weeks and traders have started hoarding of the commodity, the industry added.
India is traditionally major exporter of maize to Southeast Asia and the likely fall in production is expected to hit exports.
Source: Economic Times