Agri Business

Nod for import of 4 lt of maize will not help if shipments are late

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on July 10, 2019 Published on July 10, 2019

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Poultry farmers want supply before next crop is harvested; prices of hatching eggs, chicks hit

The Centre has allowed imports of 4 lakh tonnes of maize at a reduced duty of 15 cent to ease supplies to the animal feed sector. A shortfall in domestic production last year had led to a flare-up of maize prices, hurting the poultry sector, which consumes about 60 per cent of the maize produced in the country.

Poultry players, who have been reeling under the impact of high maize prices for the past few months, feel they could benefit from the Government's latest move only if imports of the cereal take place early, over the next couple of months and before the new crop starts arriving in October.

 

“The imports will be of help only if they are going to come in time over next 2-3 months,” said KS Akhilesh Babu, President of the Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association. There is hardly any stock of maize left and the pressure on feed availability is forcing the industry to reduce the placement of birds with poultry farmers, Babu said.

Tendering incomplete

Industry sources said that though the Centre had allowed import of 1 lakh tonnes of maize in June at a reduced duty of 15 per cent, the cereal is yet to reach the country as the tendering process is incomplete.

The high feed prices have impacted prices of hatching eggs and chicks. “There are no takers for hatching eggs. As a result, the prices of hatching eggs have now come down to ₹15 per piece from around ₹24 in the same period last year,” said KS Ashok Kumar of MAA Integrators. Similarly, the price of chicks has come down to around ₹15 per chick from about ₹27-28 in the same period last year.

Maize prices continue to rule at record highs on a supply squeeze. Maize production, according to the Agriculture Ministry's 3rd advance estimates, fell to 27.82 million tonnes during 2018-19 from 28.75 million tonnes in the previous year on account of a drought and Fall Army worm infestation in major producing states.

Further, the plantings in the ongoing kharif season have been slow on account of poor progress of the monsoon in key producing regions.

Maize is the key ingredient in poultry feed and accounts for about 70 per cent of the production costs. The higher price of maize has forced the industry to look at alternatives such as rice brokens and wheat as a substitute in poultry feed.

“Broken-rice prices have increased to ₹23-24 a kg from around ₹16-17 a kg a few months ago due to the rise in demand,” Kumar said.

Published on July 10, 2019
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