SL Poultry Producers Hail Maize Import Liberalisation

SRI LANKA - The recent budget proposal to allow the feed millers to import maize under a special limited quota to meet the shortfall in the local supply has been hailed by the poultry producers as a positive measure that will support greater efficiency within the domestic industry.
calendar icon 16 November 2017
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As one of the highest revenue-generating agricultural industries for the government, Crysbro Director Shafeek Samad said that this was a welcome move considering the previous shortage of maize had a crippling effect on the industry, putting not just the poultry farmers in jeopardy but also the local maize farmer because the industries are heavily inter-dependent.

Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror reports that maize accounts for approximately 60 per cent of raw material inputs for the poultry sector. Prior to the recently announced reforms, the sector had been compelled to buy maize at Rs.52 per kilogramme, when it could be sourced at Rs.35 per kilogramme (CIF Colombo) when imported.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Sri Lanka is forecast to produce approximately 180,000 metric tonnes (MT) of maize by the end of the year, which is a significantly lower volume compared to the actual requirement of 400,000 MT, amounting to a 40 per cent decrease from last year’s yield of 242,000 MT.

"This is an extremely timely intervention by the government and a welcome one at that, considering that the disposable income of citizens is increasing and as a result, a surge in the demand for chicken can be expected.

"Before this intervention, the biggest challenge facing our industry was the shortage of maize as well as the available maize being exorbitantly priced, making it virtually impossible to be competitive in the international market, let alone operate in the local market without hiking the price of the end product," Mr Samad said.

The local poultry industry continues to stand as one of the country’s most disciplined, well-organised and consistent tax payers compared to the other livestock industries, paying approximately Rs.16 billion a year at Rs.85 per kilogramme.

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