Sri Lanka has cut an import tax on maize, which has kept domestic prices artificially high, made eggs and chicken more expensive than the world, and given large profits to collectors, which poultry farmers refer to as the ‘maize mafia’.
The import tax which was at 75 rupees a kilo was lowered to 25 rupees, State Minister for Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said.
“The intention is to reduce the cost of animal feed,” Minister Siyambalapitiya said.
Sri Lanka’s protein costs are high due to artificially high feed costs from import duties, which critics have said could be a contributing factor to the stunting and malnutrition of children of poor families.
The so-called maize mafia is a powerful lobby that has the political clout to push up food and protein prices in the name of self-sufficiency (autarky) and domestic production.
As a result, the cost of production of eggs and chicken in Sri Lanka is higher than in countries like India. The country also loses an opportunity to build an export industry in chicken-related foods and eggs.