Concerned over the implications of increasing use of maize in ethanol production, the poultry sector has urged the Centre to allow duty free imports of maize to meet its future requirements.

The All India Poultry Breeder Association (AIPBA), Delhi, has recently written to the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying to allow duty-free maize imports so as to enable the poultry industry to meet its future requirements.

The current basic import duty on maize stands at 50 per cent. In a memorandum to the Ministry, the AIPBA pointed out that India’s 34.60 million tonnes of annual maize production is insufficient to meet the requirements of the poultry industry as well as nation’s food security.

“Per estimates of the Indian Institute of Millets Research, the poultry and livestock industry consumes more than 60 per cent of the country’s maize production. In this context, the government’s ambitious plan to generate half of the ethanol from maize by 2025-26 may have some serious implications for sectors like poultry and livestock. Diverting such a significant chunk of current maize production to ethanol could impact their access to essential feedstock, creating a severe demand-supply gap in the coming years,” AIPBA said in the memorandum submitted to the Government.

The AIPBA, in a press release, said that over the last decade, growth in maize production has been at 4.5 per cent, while the poultry industry has experienced a growth of 8-9 per cent. This disparity highlights the anticipated maize shortage for the poultry industry, particularly in the wake of the government’s plan to promote maize for ethanol in a big way.

“Addressing the rising demand for maize in both livestock feed and other industries presents two options: importing maize or increasing domestic production. However, significant short-term increases in domestic output are deemed improbable. Therefore, importing maize from other countries emerges as the most viable solution to meet the immediate demand,” AIPBA said

Ethanol’s growing thirst for maize has also pushed prices skyward, posing a major challenge for Indian poultry farmers. With maize prices hovering around ₹22-23 per kg across India, poultry farmers are grappling with unsustainable costs. The burden is expected to intensify further by February, which may impact the poultry industry, it argued.