Animal feed imports to be boosted for 3 months
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Animal feed imports to be boosted for 3 months

The Commerce Ministry proposed new measures yesterday to boost imports of animal feed ingredients for a three-month period, a move aimed at shoring up domestic supplies following disruptions caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Feed mills have complained for months of a shortage of grains used in animal feed mix, such as wheat and corn, urging the government to ease import controls designed to protect local farmers.

Russia and Ukraine together account for about 29% of global wheat exports and 19% of corn exports, but Moscow's invasion has tightened supply.

Commerce Minister, Jurin Laksanawisit, told a news conference one measure proposed was to temporarily suspend controls on wheat imports from May to July.

At present, feed mills must source their corn with a ratio of 3-1 in favour of domestic suppliers to earn a quota to import wheat.

Another planned measure will ease controls on corn imports, allowing up to 600,000 tonnes to be brought in, free of the 20% duty, over the same period. That would be up from 54,700 tonnes, added Mr Jurin, who is also a deputy prime minister.

The ministry will propose to the cabinet that up to 1.2 million tonnes of animal feed ingredients, including corn, wheat and barley, be allowed over the three-month period, he said.

The government imposed a cap on wheat imports in 2016 with the aim of shoring up domestic maize and cassava prices.

The price of domestic maize is considered very high, quoted at 11-11.50 baht per kg, up from 6-8 baht per kilogramme during normal periods, said Mr Jurin.

The government, through its farmers' income guarantee scheme, offers a guaranteed price of 8.50 baht per kg.

Maize demand totals 7.8-8 million tonnes a year, while domestic production makes for 4.9 million tonnes.

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