News wrap: Centre to review wheat import duty

Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said that the Centre will ensure that wheat prices do not crash this season (starts by mid-March) during arrivals. All necessary actions to ensure the payment of Minimum Support Price to farmers will be taken, he said. The import duty of 10 per cent on wheat was scrapped recently due to low domestic availability. According to a press release from the Agriculture Ministry, 40 lakh tonnes have been imported in the last two months.

Farmers switch from castor to other crops

According to a crop survey report released by Nielsen India on behalf of SEA (Solvent Extractors Association of India), castor seed output is expected to decline 25 per cent in 2016-17 season compared to the previous year. There is 26 per cent decline in area under castor to 8.45 lakh hectares this year. Prices may rise sharply closer to the harvest (around May-June). However, since castor seed prices have been ruling low for a long time, many farmers have moved to alternate kharif crops such as groundnut, cotton, pulses and spices, say reports.

Surge in export of coconut products

Exports of value-added coconut products are set to cross ₹2,000 crore by the end of the financial year 2016-17. In the period between April and November, the total exports were ₹1,448 crore compared to ₹1,450 crore in the full year 2015-16. A significant contribution to the growth has come from the Coconut Development Board’s efforts in promoting entrepreneurs to take up exports, says an official from the Board. However, the Board does not expect an increase in exports in the coming months due to rise in domestic demand.

Compiled by Research Bureau

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