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10,000 metric tons of milk powder import quota to address food inflation

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The Indian government has announced a series of measures to allow limited imports of key agricultural commodities under tariff-rate quotas (TRQs), aiming to curb rising food inflation.

The decision, made public on Wednesday, permits the import of specific quantities of corn, crude sunflower oil, refined rapeseed oil, and milk powder at reduced or zero duty rates.

Under the new policy, India will allow imports of 500,000 metric tons of corn, 150,000 metric tons of sunflower oil or safflower oil, 150,000 metric tons of refined rapeseed oil, and 10,000 metric tons of milk powder.

This move comes as food inflation in India has persisted at approximately 8 per cent year-on-year since November 2023, impacting the nation’s ability to reduce interest rates.

The government has designated select cooperatives and state-run entities, including the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), National Cooperative Dairy Federation (NCDF), and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), to handle these imports.

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India, the world’s largest importer of vegetable oils and top milk producer, typically sources nearly two-thirds of its vegetable oil requirements fr0m countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, and Brazil.

The country has been grappling with supply-side challenges, including adverse weather conditions affecting crop yields.

The decision has sparked mixed reactions within the industry. A Mumbai-based dealer associated with a global trade house expressed concern, stating, “There wasn’t any need to allow imports of sunflower and rapeseed oil at concessional duty. Oilseed prices are already under pressure due to cheaper imports, which still attract duty. Now, duty-free imports will exert additional pressure.”

Recent months have seen leading dairies in India raise prices for milk and milk products due to strong demand and limited supplies.

Similarly, domestic corn prices have been on an upward trajectory, driven by demand fr0m the poultry and ethanol sectors.

It is worth noting that India maintains strict regulations regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food crops.

The country does not permit the cultivation of GM food crops and has measures in place to ensure that imports are free fr0m GMO traces.


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This policy adjustment reflects the government’s efforts to balance domestic market dynamics with the need to control food inflation, a key economic concern for the nation

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