Ru­mour In­dia may ban crop

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - Find A - Pe­ter Hem­phill and Kath Sul­li­van news@ru­ral­weekly.com

GRAIN trade spec­u­la­tion is rife that In­dia is to ban all im­ports of pulses into the coun­try.

One grain trader sent a mes­sage that the In­dian Gov­ern­ment would place the ban on all pulse im­ports within two days.

Grain Pro­duc­ers Aus­tralia pres­i­dent An­drew Wei­de­mann said the same grain trader cor­rectly tipped the in­dus­try off about In­dian tar­iffs on chick peas last De­cem­ber.

One Aus­tralian grain trader said there had been a lot of “chat­ter” in the pulse trade in the past few days but noth­ing con­crete had emerged.

In­dia has pub­licly made known its in­ten­tion to dou­ble In­dian grow­ers’ in­come by 2020 from 2015 lev­els.

The spec­u­la­tion also comes in the lead-up to gov­ern­ment elec­tions in May next year.

GPA di­rec­tor An­drew Earle said he had spo­ken with Austrade in In­dia on Thurs­day af­ter­noon re­gard­ing spec­u­la­tion of a ban.

“It could be true,” Mr Earle said.

“We’ve heard the ru­mours, but there’s no ev­i­dence yet.

“It re­ally doesn’t make a dif­fer­ence, in the shorter term, be­cause there’s no trade any­way.”

Mr Earle said the In­dian chick­pea mar­ket was worth $1.1 bil­lion to Aus­tralian grow­ers in 2016.

He said the sug­ges­tion of in­creased tar­iffs, or ex­port bans, were “po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated”.

“Noth­ing would sur­prise me, but as soon as In­dia has a mon­soon or a bad sea­son, I’d ex­pect any ban would lift.”

Mr Earle said In­dia had last week in­tro­duced a 7 per cent sub­sidy to in­cen­tivise its lo­cal farm­ers to ex­port chick­peas.

A spokesman for Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud said the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment had not been in­formed by the In­dian gov­ern­ment of any im­port ban on pulses.

Af­ter In­dia slapped tar­iffs on im­ported pulses late last year, Mr Lit­tleproud said he had won an as­sur­ance from In­dian of­fi­cials that Aus­tralian farm­ers would be given warn­ing if fu­ture tar­iffs were to be in­tro­duced.

PHOTO: FILE

SPEC­U­LA­TION: The In­dian Gov­ern­ment may im­pose a ban on all im­ports of pulse crops in the com­ing days.

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