Commodities News Wrap

10-day farmers strike from June 1

An umbrella body of 110 farmers’ organisations, the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, has said that it will not supply farm products such as vegetables, grains and milk to cities across the country for 10 days from June 1.

This is in protest against what the organisation has called the anti-farmer policies of the Centre. A nation-wide Bharat bandh will be held on June 10 till 2 pm.

The organisation also claimed that farmers are yet to receive the minimum support price (MSP), 50 per cent higher than the cost of production as promised in the Budget. (The body said cost of production is C2 and not A2+FL.)

A2 includes expenses — in cash and kind — incurred on seeds, fertilisers, chemicals, labour, fuel and irrigation, while A2+FL covers actual costs, plus value of unpaid family labour.

C2 denotes A2+FL, along with costs for rentals on owned land and interest forgone on fixed capital assets.

Along with the MSP increase, the organisation has also demanded a complete loan waiver from the Centre. The farmers also urged traders’ organisations to support their June 10 Bharat bandh.

Restrictions on imports of urad and moong

The Centre has extended the restriction on the import of urad and moong dal across all varieties, to stabilise domestic prices.

According to a notification by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, the import policy on urad and moong, in spilt and other forms, has been restricted with a total annual import quota of 3 lakh tonnes.

The restriction will, however, not apply to the government’s import commitments under bilateral/regional agreements and MoUs.

Seafood export surges

India’s seafood exports registered over 13 per cent growth in volume during the first 10 months of FY2017-18 with 10,85,378 tonnes shipped out as against 9,54,744 tonnes a year earlier. This was 10.11 per cent higher in value terms.

The US, South-East Asia and the European Union continues to be the three major importers, while the demand from Japan registered a substantial increase during the period.

Frozen shrimp continues to top the marine products exports basket, with a share of 42.05 per cent in quantity.

India’s exports of seafood remains on the upward curve despite a fall in global shrimp prices triggered by oversupply from major shrimp-producing countries and more stringent test regimes imposed by the EU to detect antibiotic residues in frozen shrimp consignments, according to A Jayathilak, Chairman, Marine Products Exports Development Authority (Mpeda).

Ivory Coast suspends cocoa distribution

Ivory Coast’s recent move to halt the distribution of high-yielding seeds and other advanced tools to cocoa farmers raises concerns regarding quality, production and immunity against diseases.

The programme aims to improve cocoa productivity in an effort to tackle the oversupply which has driven prices to their lowest and slashed farmers’ income by more than a third.

According to the International Cocoa Organization, the output in Ivory Coast outstripped demand by around 3 lakh tonnes in 2017-18.

Illegal cocoa farming in protected forests is the main reason for the supply glut.

Therefore, halting productivity efforts will fail to make a significant dent in supply, while giving rise to quality issues and diseases. Once the government stops the distribution of high-yielding seeds, farmers are likely to turn to the informal market for seeds, which could lead to poor quality, as the planting material is less likely to be verified or vetted. Compiled by BL Research Bureau

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