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KARACHI: While opposing the restrictions on export of maize, exporters on Wednesday said that with over 9 million tons crop production, sufficient stocks of maize are available for domestic consumption.

They said that maize export, without government subsidy, is one of the success stories of the private sector. The actual problem behind the demand for a ban on maize export is not the availability, but the price as the domestic sector is buying cheap corn at 60 days payment terms, while exporters are buying commodity on an 8 days payment schedule with attractive prices. In addition, the farmers are getting an additional price of Rs 300 per 40-kg maize or additional revenue of Rs 30,000 per acre, they added.

In a letter to Minister for Commerce, Syed Naveed Qamar, Cereal Association of Pakistan (CAP) said that the country has achieved some 9.3 million metric tons maize production this year as against the domestic consumption of 6-6.5 million metric tons. The domestic maize crop is gradually increasing due to attractive prices and healthy earnings to farmers.

Muzzammil Chappal, Chairman CAP, in the letter, has informed that corn production was almost zero in 1995 but now reached some 9.3 million metric tons in 2022 as against 6 million metric tons domestic consumption. The private sector is making efforts to enhance the production and likely to bring it up to 18 million metric tons in the next three to four years.

Currently, the maize is mainly being used for chicken feed in the local market and the remaining surplus quantity is being exported by the private sector, without any subsidy, to bring the foreign exchange for the country.

The domestic corn production is not only sufficient to cater the demand of the feed industry but also creates space for export of commodities, however, some elements are misguiding the government for a ban on export of maize without realizing the ground realities.

He said the private sector has not only encouraged the local production of maize by providing a better price to farmers but also initiated the exports without any government’s subsidy and brought over millions of dollars foreign exchange for cash strapped Pakistan.

With current growth in export of maize Pakistan is all set to achieve a $ 1 billion corn exports in the next five years. Pakistan corn acceptability is very good in Gulf Middle East and Asian Markets and fetching top prices and any restriction on export of maize not only hurts the exports but the country will also lose the market and trust of buyers, the CAP warned.

Any step like restrictions on export of maize not only hurt the exports but also discourages its production and results in loss to the farmers, Chappal.

He requested the minister of commerce for not imposing any restriction on the export of maize. “The government must let the farmers make better money from their efforts and crop. We believed that the ban on export will destroy the crop of maize like wheat,” Chappal said.

He said in the past, the ban on wheat export has not only hit the domestic crop production but also created a crisis and still the country is facing a massive shortfall of wheat that is compelled to import wheat for domestic consumption. “Pakistan can manage foreign exchange for the import of wheat by exporting maize,” he added. The CAP has also urged the ministry of commerce for not taking any decision regarding the export of maize.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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