PUNE: The National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) has come out with a statement reacting to a media report about Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The MEA has suggested allowing the free import of American chicken legs, in return for the US Government allowing shipments of Indian Basmati Rice and fruits and immigration reforms. NECC claimed that the decision of the ministry is extremely unfair and will sacrifice the livelihood of over 5.0 million poultry farmers and others dependent on our poultry industry.
The government has put a restriction on US poultry while the US has blocked several Indian fruits citing domestic regulations. However, recently the MEA suggested free import of American chicken legs and in return, US government would allow shipments of Indian Basmati rice, pomegranate and table grapes and immigration reforms for the IT professionals of the country.
On this backdrop, NECC came out with a statement opposing free import of American chicken legs. NECC has appealed the government to not to reduce the customs duty and to levy anti-dumping duty on the import of processed poultry products, especially the chicken legs from USA which will help to protect the livelihood of Indian poultry farmers from uneven competition.
The statement issued by Anuradha Desai of NECC mentions that, in order to provide level playing field and protect the farmers from uneven competition from subsidised exports, the customs duty on the import on various poultry products was increased to 100 per cent while removing quantitative restrictions on import on poultry products in 2001. However, if the proposal of MEA is accepted, it will remove the safety net and destroy the economic viability and livelihood of millions of poultry farmers. The decision can cause an irreversible setback the country's poultry industry, mentions the statement.
NECC has also stated that in USA, consumers prefer chicken breast or breast meat, which is considered a lean or white meat, hence these products are sold at a premium in their domestic markets. There is a very limited and negligible demand for chicken legs/leg meat, which is considered a dark meat, and hence sold at a throw-away price. Millions of tons of chicken legs remain unsold in warehouses of poultry processing companies in USA for years and they will be very happy with the decision and with the help of liberal subsidies from their government, they dump the chicken legs in the developing countries' markets at extremely low, throw-away prices, the statement said.
NECC has also claimed that such dumping had destroyed the farmers' economy and the poultry industries of Sri Lanka, Philippines Vietnam and Mexico, and, severely damaged the industry in Russia.
Therefore, NECC has therefore appealed to the government not to make any reduction in the customs duty structure and also levy an anti dumping duty on import of chicken legs so as to ensure a level playing field and protect the farmers from uneven competition.