With shortfall in production of maize and also due to skewed import of maize, many small and medium poultry farmers in Karnataka and other states are in distress, thus affecting production of poultry. Fearing that the situation might worsen, the Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (KPFBA) has urged the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar, to immediately allow import of maize, specifically for the small and medium poultry farmers.
In a letter addressed to the Minister, the President of KPFBA, Mr. Akhilesh Babu has urged the government to import maize (feed grade) to resolve the problems of the Small and Medium farmers. About 17 Small and Medium broiler poultry farmers had applied for import of 61,050 metric tonnes, while one major player alone had applied for 50,000 MT to the MMTC (Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation) which Mr. Babu said was not a 'fair proportion'. The government, he added, should come to the immediate rescue of the Small and Medium poultry farmers.
Big Players May Garner all Import
The KPFBA President pointed out that the Directorate General of Foreign Trade had allowed import of 50,000 MT each to both MMTC and NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation), but these imports may not reach the Small and Medium farmers. These two organisations have floated global tenders separately to source non-genetically modified organism (GMO) maize to be used by poultry farmers. The KPFBA has suggested that there should be common allotment in consultation with each other thus giving equal opportunity to all applicants.
In Karnataka, all the Small and Medium poultry farmers had applied in April 2019 for import of non-GMO maize under TRQ (tariff rate quota) scheme through the KPFBA paying the prescribed fee of Rs. 18.5 per ton to MMTC. A few big players have also applied for import of maize in large volumes. The KPFBA fears that the big players may get all the maize, leaving nothing for the Small and Medium poultry farmers.
Meanwhile, the KPFBA has got to know from its sources that the MMTC has not received the expected response from global suppliers for the tender floated, thus adding to the stress levels of farmers who have stopped placing chicks due to non-availability of maize. The Small and Medium farmers for whom poultry is a livelihood are in severe distress.
It may be mentioned here that the Government of India had allowed import of nearly 5 lakh MT of maize under TRQ scheme between December 2018 and April 2019 which mitigated the problem to some extent. While thanking the Government for the same, the KPFBA has sought its immediate intervention.