Agri Business

TN wants restriction on import of peas via Thoothukudi eased

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on February 06, 2020 Published on February 06, 2020

TN CM Edappadi K Palaniswami   -  THE HINDU

CM writes to Goyal; says curb hurting dhall traders, flour mills


Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has urged Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal to relax import restriction on peas through the Thoothukudi port for the welfare of dhal and flour-milling trade in Tamil Nadu and the neighbouring States.

The request comes following a public notification issued by the Director General of Foreign Trade on December 18, 2019, restricting the import of peas to 1.5 lakh tonnes for the entire country. The restriction has led to drastic increase in the price peas to over ₹65 per kg in Tamil Nadu. It has also affected dhal and flour mills operating as MSME units in Tamil Nadu, hurting labourers and others who are dependent on the trade, says a letter written by Palaniswami to Goyal. Peas, mainly used for the preparation of traditional and region-specific snacks, are cultivated in an area of 5.40 lakh hectares across India with an annual estimated production of 54.22 lakh tonnes. Peas cultivation is taken up in cooler regions, and hence, Tamil Nadu’s share is only marginal; green peas, in particular, is cultivated on 120 hectares with production of about 1,960 tonnes.

Since there is a heavy demand for peas, which is used for preparing the traditional snacks, in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala, more than 1,000 micro, small and medium dhal and flour mills are functioning in Tamil Nadu for processing the peas, providing direct employment to around 50,000 labourers and indirectly to over 65,000 persons. The average requirement of peas in Tamil Nadu would be around two lakh tonnes, of which a maximum of 10,000 tonnes alone are being transported from the northern states.

Supply from North

Due to heavy demand for peas in other States, the cost of peas transported from the northern states is very high and can range up to ₹60 per kg. Hence, dhal traders and flour mills functioning in Tamil Nadu import peas from countries such as Australia, Canada and Russia through the Thoothukudi port at cheaper rates.

“I request that the Union Government may kindly permit the import of peas with HSN Codes 07131010 (yellow peas), 07131020 green peas) and 07131090 (Other) through the Thoothukudi port for the welfare of the dhal and flour milling trade in Tamil Nadu, and neighbouring southern states. This lifting of restriction on import of peas through the Thoothukudi port will hardly affect the domestic market in northern states, which are broadly self-sufficient with in-house production of peas. I strongly recommend this case and request your favourable action,” says the letter, which was released to the media by the State government.

Published on February 06, 2020
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