Warra chickpeas scaled back
Indian tariff leading to market uncertainty
CHINCHILLA region farmers will reduce the quantity of future chickpea crops as the Indian tariff on the export remains at 60 per cent.
The increase hit at the start of the month, impacting the Australian market which in 2016-17 exported $1.1 billion worth of chickpeas to India.
Warra farmer Brendan Taylor said the tariff will affect the quantity of chickpeas he grows, but due to high prices in recent years, he doesn’t expect it to be too problematic.
“Our area will be scaled back probably, as a result of the Indian tariff,” he said.
“At this point in time, it’s had a dramatic impact on the export… of chickpeas, but one thing you have to keep in mind is that largely, one of the largest reasons why the chickpea price over the last four years or so has been so high, has been because India’s domestic production has been very low due to drought.
“Australia did happen to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of that.”
Fellow Warra farmer Jeff Bidstrup said he too would be reducing the size of his chickpea crops in the future.
“We’ve reduced the number growing this year because of the uncertainty,” Mr Bidstrup said.
“Price wise it’s disappointing but it’s not the end of the world, but the biggest problem is the uncertainty and not knowing, not having confidence that market forces will dictate the price next year, recognising tariffs, and so forth, and political events will dictate the prices.”
AgForce grains president Wayne Newton said it’s a common theme.
“We’re certainly hearing increasingly from growers... we’re going to probably see a significant reduction in planted area now.
“We’re also hearing that there could be further potential increases in tariffs from India, it’s not necessarily over, and that’s adding to that uncertainty.
“It’s just totally internal
We’ve reduced the number growing this year because of the uncertainty.
— Jeff Bidstrup
Mr Newton said since the initial 20 per cent tariff was struck, no Australian chickpeas have gone to India.
In a statement, Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud was said to continue to make representations to the Indian government regarding the tariff.
“Chickpea exports to India have increased by 991 per cent over the past five years and our farmers have been getting world record prices for their produce,” the statement said.
“The decision by the Indian Government to increase chickpea tariffs is disappointing but demonstrates why this government is constantly focussed on developing new markets, particularly to minimise market disruption.
“Since December 21 2017, the department has assisted Australian exporters to change the destination of exported lentils and chickpeas from India to other importing countries, including Nepal, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. As of March 2, 2018, 60 consignments-seven lentils and 53 chickpeas-have been redirected.”
LOCAL PRODUCERS: Warra farmers Jeff and Brendan Taylor on the family farm, in 2014.