Industry says about 500,000 tn masur import under lower duty so far

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2020


By Animesh Deb


NEW DELHI – Taking advantage of the reduced import duty on masur applicable till the end of August, its import so far is pegged at 400,000-500,000 tn, said India Pulses and Grain Association Chairman Jitu Bheda.


"Two or three cargoes have already reached India, and the rest is likely to reach very soon," Bheda told Cogencis, adding that 80% of the imports are from Canada and the rest from Australia–the two major suppliers to India.


The government slashed import duty on masur to 10% from 30%, from Jun 2 to Aug 31, however, duty remains unchanged at 30% for the crop originating in or exported from the US. The Centre's policy intervention came purportedly due to India's lower output from the just harvested crop.


India's masur production in the 2019-20 (Jul-Jun) rabi season is seen 10-15% lower on year at 1.2 mln tn due to bad weather and hailstorms in April, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Chairman Bijender Singh had said.


The reduction in import duty on masur may be extended beyond August, because of lower production in the country, Kalisch Gordon, an analyst at Rabobank, said in a report.


On being asked whether an extension has been sought beyond August, Bheda said the association has not done so.


On his Twitter handle, Vivek Agarwal, head of Pune-based JLV Agro, called on the government to clear the air on the lentils policy, especially whether the duty will increase after August or stay at 10%. He said since India was a major consumer of pulses, its policies had an impact on countries such as Canada, the US, and the Black Sea region where the crop has already been harvested.


Also, Bheda echoed most industry players who were concerned that the government has not issued import licences to tur, moong or pea traders.


The government had set the annual import quota for tur at 400,000 tn for 2020-21 (Apr-Mar). For moong and peas, the annual import was set at 150,000 tn each. In addition, the government had allowed import of 200,000 tn of tur and other pulses from Mozambique in the current financial year ending March, as part of a memorandum of understanding with the African nation.  End


Edited by Michael Correya


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