India allows imports of corn under tariff-rate quota

India has approved limited imports of corn, crude sunflower oil, refined rapeseed oil, and milk powder under the tariff-rate quota (TRQ) system, allowing importers to pay no or reduced duty. This measure, announced on Wednesday, is part of India’s efforts to tackle rising food inflation.

As the world’s largest importer of vegetable oils, including palm oil, soy oil, and sunflower oil, and the leading producer of milk, India has sanctioned the import of 150,000 metric tons of sunflower or safflower oil, 4,98,900 tons of corn, 10,000 tons of milk powder, and 150,000 tons of refined rapeseed oil.

To facilitate these imports, the government has shortlisted cooperatives and state-run companies, including the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), the National Cooperative Dairy Federation (NCDF), and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED).

Domestic corn prices have been on the rise, driven by strong demand from the poultry and ethanol industries.

In this regard, B.B. Thombre, President of the West Indian Sugar Mills Association (WISMA), stated that the import of corn is only a temporary measure unlikely to yield long-term benefits. To boost corn crop production in the country, both central and state governments need to offer incentives and subsidies to farmers. If this support is provided, domestic corn production can increase significantly. This would not only stabilize the economic conditions of farmers but also ensure an ample supply of corn for ethanol production in the domestic market. Additionally, the poultry industry stands to benefit from this initiative.

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