Govt mulls imposing 25 per cent import duty on chana to save farmers

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New Delhi: The Centre is considering slapping import duty of not less than 25 per cent on chana (gram) to curb shipments and protect local farmers from possible price crash in the wake of record output.

India is all set to harvest a record 22 million tonnes of pulses including all-time high chana output of 9 million tonnes this year on good monsoon and sharp rise in prices. According to sources, the Agriculture Ministry has moved a proposal to impose import duty on chana as it fears that the prices of this rabi crop could fall sharply to the disadvantage of farmers.

 The Ministry is of the view that imports need to be controlled for at least chana to protect farmers’ interest and has proposed import duty of not less than 25 per cent. The government does not want to impose import duty on other varieties of pulses as the country will still have to depend on other countries in spite of record output this year.

Wholesale prices of some of the pulses varieties like tur grown in the kharif season of this year have already fallen and the government fears that chana prices could also fall. Similarly, the retail pulses prices have dropped by about 30 per cent in the last one year and rates of chana dal are likely to fall on bumper production, the government had said last week.

After retail prices skyrocketed to Rs 200 per kg last year, the government took several steps to boost domestic production and reduce import dependence. Now, that the output has increased sharply by 6 million tonnes, it wants to ensure that farmers get right price for their produce and continue sowing pulses in the coming years.

The annual domestic demand of pulses is around 25 million tonnes. The country had imported about 5.8 million tonnes last fiscal and the shipments are likely to be around same level in the current 2016-17 financial year.

 

Source: Deccan Chronicle

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