Sri Lanka awaits armyworm damage report to relax maize imports
Jan 29, 2019 14:36 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka may relax import quotas for maize, after assessing crop damage by an infestation of Fall Armyworm in the ongoing Maha cultivation season, an official said.
Sri Lanka's Department of Agriculture in December forecasted about 240,000 metric tonnes of maize would be produced, down 12.2 percent from a year earlier with about 2,300 hectares being damaged by an infestation of Fall Armyworm (spodoptera frugiperda).
But Agriculture Minister P Harison told parliament last week up to 40 percent of the crop had been infested to various degrees by January.
A ministry spokesperson said a report from Sri Lanka's Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute is awaited to decide whether to relax import quotas.
Sri Lanka taxes maize and gives import licenses for the feed milling industry, to keep maize prices above international level to give higher profits to farmers, who are protected.
However poultry farmers and feed millers have to pay higher prices. Fluctuating maize prices hit margins of both feed millers and poultry farms.
Finance Ministry data showed that in 2017, the animal feed industry has an annual maize requirement of around 500,000 metric tonnes.
Sri Lanka had produced 197,500 metric tonnes of maize in 2017.
Ceylon Grain Elevators, a publicly trade feed miller is among the largest consumers of maize. The stock closed at 57.10 rupees on Tuesday, up 40 cents from Monday.
Its day old chick and poultry processing unit Three Acre Farms closed at at 102 rupees, down 1 rupee.
Bairaha Farms, another poultry group, closed flat at 127.50 rupees. (Colombo/Jan28/2019)