NEW DELHI India has cancelled a tender to import 240,000 tonnes of corn, trade and government sources said, hoping for a bigger-than-expected local summer harvest and following uncertainty over the availability of non-genetically modified corn as demanded.
Global traders such as Agrocorp, Concordia, Noble, Starcom and Daewoo International submitted bids on Feb. 12 to supply 240,000 tonnes of corn in a range of $194.62 and $221.50 per tonne.
By cancelling the latest import tender, India has put off plans to import any more for now, the sources said on Thursday. In a previous tender, New Delhi secured supplies of 250,000 tonnes of Ukrainian corn.
Late last year, the government asked state-run trader PEC Ltd to import half a million tonnes of duty-free corn after two droughts in a row clipped output, announcing the country's first such overseas purchase in 16 years.
In its first international tender competition launched in January, the government-backed trader awarded a contract to South Korea's Daewoo International to supply 250,000 tonnes of yellow non-genetically modified corn.
"Of the 250,000 tonnes, PEC has already received about 130,000 tonnes and ships carrying another 120,000 tonnes are plying international waters," said a trade source.
Since India doesn't allow genetically modified (GM) food crops, PEC sought in its import tender only non-GM corn, a condition that looked like a tall order to many trade and industry experts, as only a handful of countries grow grain which would qualify.
PEC will sell imported corn directly to poultry units and starch manufacturers.
India has traditionally been a major corn exporter to southeast Asia, but higher local prices because of the first back-to-back drought in nearly three decades and rising domestic demand hampered exports.
The dramatic switch in India's position in the market has brought cheers to rival suppliers such as Brazil, Argentina and the United States.
Indian farmers grow corn twice a year. The winter crop is planted in October, with harvests in March and April. The farm ministry last month forecast summer harvest at 5.41 million tonnes, down from 7.16 million tonnes.
(Editing by Mark Potter)
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