India. Wheat import duty may be doubled


The government is likely to raise the import duty on wheat to 40 per cent from 20 per cent to protect local farmers from cheap imports, food ministry officials said.

According to industry executives, wheat imported from Ukraine and Russia is available for about Rs 22,300 a tonne after payment of 20 per cent duty and clearing charges.

This is offering stiff competition to the variety grown in Madhya Pradesh which is selling for Rs 22,800 a tonne in Bengaluru. On the other hand, premium wheat from Australia, which is available for Rs 24,300 a tonne, has steady clients in southern India.

As per the government’s third advance estimate, the country is set to produce a record 98.61 million tonnes of wheat in 2017-18 crop year.

Cheap imports in this scenario could hit Indian farmers hard, the officials cited earlier told ET on Tuesday.

“An inter-ministerial committee meeting, headed by the food secretary, last week discussed the matter on raising the import duty on wheat. In all likelihood, the notification will come any time soon,” one of the officials said.


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