Ban on corn exports may be lifted

September 12th, 2008 - 4:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) The ban on corn exports may be lifted next month if the crop in Bihar has not been badly affected by the floods there, the government said Friday.“We are looking at the crop in Bihar. The prime minister has called a meeting today to assess the damage to the crop. If there is no significant damage, I don’t think there will be a problem,” agriculture minister Sharad Pawar told reporters on the sidelines of a business meet.

However, restrictions on shipments of cheaper grades of rice will continue.

As per the government’s primary assessment, about 250,000 acres of Bihar farmland have been flooded.

India banned export of corn crops until the middle of October after domestic prices rose sharply following increasing overseas sales.

“We have to protect farmers. We have to look at farmers’ interest also. We are not interested in continuing with restrictions on corn exports,” Pawar said.

“The government would seek a balance between the interests of farmers and consumers and take steps to avoid shortages.”

The minister also said there was no immediate plan to further ease controls on non-basmati rice.

India banned export of non-basmati in March, though Pusa-1121, a premium grade of rice, can be exported.

“We have allowed exports of Pusa-1121 as it has a good export market, but a similar approach will not be taken for other rice varieties,” Pawar said.

He also said the government had no immediate plans to raise import duties on edible oils.

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