Concern lingers over India's chickpea tax
EXPORTING chickpeas to India just got harder with a 30 per cent tariff slugged onto wholesalers, and producers are concerned it could have repercussions.
Newly appointed Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud and Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd were in Eidsvold and Mundubbera to discuss the problem.
Mr Littleproud said this would be detrimental to all producers.
"This tariff will hurt producers,” he said.
"All we ask from the Indian government is to understand the impact it's going to have on producers and farmers and that we want a fair go.
"We want our farmers to have a fair go and be able to have a very good trading relationship and to build on that into an extent of a formal trading agreement.
"It will provide them with the world's best product and give us surety of being able to put our chickpeas without the tariff going through.”
Mr Littleproud said the free trade agreement will allow farmers to sell more in the future.
"It's one around the tariffs and it's also around the access,” he said.
"Farmers have really achieved the tariff reduction and we're seeing that continue with China, Japan and South Korea, they're incrementally reducing and the exciting thing about that is that we're getting better returns as we move forward.”
Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd said it was critical for Mr Littleproud to visit the region to resolve the chickpeas crisis in India.
"We've had a lot of concerned farmers come to us regarding the tariff for chickpeas,” Mr O'Dowd said.
"It's been good having Mr Littleproud come to the region to reassure farmers that the government is doing all it can to resolve the issue.
"We don't know what the outcome will be but we're hoping the government will listen to us.”
The chickpea has had a bumper crop in India, along with wheat and lentils.
"It might only be a seasonal thing or it could be ongoing for the rest of the year,” Mr O'Dowd said.
"It's their sovereign right to protect their own farmers over there in India, we have very big trade outside of the free trade agreement.
"We've got a free trade agreement with China, Japan and Korea and we haven't got one with India just yet but we're working on that.”
Mr O'Dowd believes the conversations in India this weekend will be a success.
"I think the negotiations had next week will be fruitful,” he said.
Mr Littleproud will head to India on Saturday for three days.