Trade houses were concerned about the shortage of containers and vessels, which has increased the sailing time of cargo.
The decision comes amid uncertainty about the size, quality and time of arrival of the standing kharif crop due to erratic weather.
“In a recent video conference with commerce secretary BVR Subrahmanayam, IPGA (India Pulses and Grains Association) had also sought an extension in the arrival deadline for pulses imported from Myanmar and East Africa by 60 and 90 days, respectively. This was primarily because the disruption in global logistics has caused severe shortage of containers as well as vessels,” said Bimal Kothari, vice chairman of IPGA.
Kothari explained that tur is harvested in East Africa around August and shipments start in the month of September. However, due to non-availability of containers, as well as vessels connecting to India from transit ports, these cargoes are taking far more than the normal sailing time.
“The trade was worried that the extended sailing time would result in cargoes reaching India post November 30, 2021, which was the initial deadline. With the arrival deadline being extended till (bill of landing) BL date of December 31 and arrival before January 31, 2022 gives importers ample time to procure and ship the pulses to India,” he said.
Concerns being raised about the kharif harvest are also contributing to the frequent policy changes being undertaken by the government, said trade and industry players.
Kothari said the disruption in monsoon for about three weeks, between June and July, compounded by the excessive rainfall is expected to hamper the production of tur, urad and moong this year, which could result in severe shortage in domestic production.
“The government of India, taking early cognizance of this, has taken a proactive step by extending the import window, which will ensure adequate imports of these pulses to tide over the ongoing festive season till the time the new domestic crop arrives in the market. This will also help stabilise the prices during the festival season,” said Kothari.
Along with pulses, the government has also extended the time limit allowed for import of genetically modified soyameal into the country till December 31.
For the first time, India opened its doors for import of GM soyameal in August this year to tame the prices of poultry feed as domestic soyabean prices hit a record high of Rs 10,000/quintal. Most of the soyameal is being imported from Myanmar.