Sri Lanka may temporarily allow maize imports

Mar 11, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka may temporarily lift a 35 percent import tax on maize to prevent prices going higher and hurting the island’s poultry industry after floods destroyed a part of the domestic crop, an official said.

Sri Lanka’s agriculture ministry has requested approval from the cabinet of ministers to cut taxes on imported maize for “one or two months” to prevent further spikes in the price of maize.

Shantha Amitiyagoda, additional secretary of Sri Lanka’s agricultural ministry said the domestic market price for maize was about 40 rupees a kilo now and with the 35 percent imported grain could cost about 48 rupees.

Sri Lanka’s chicken and egg prices are already at high levels due to the high price of domestically produced maize, which is the main feed ingredient for the poultry industry.

The island is estimated to need about 15,000 tonnes of maize a month for animal feed according to one report. The bulk of the domestic production comes during the main cultivation season which was caught in floods.

Sri Lanka put many poultry farmers out of business with a combination of high maize prices and price controls, later resulting in rocketing prices of eggs and chicken.

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