Minister urged to stay strong on India visit

NSW Farmers is calling for the new Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources to maintain the tough talk when he arrives in India next week to talk unfair tariffs on chickpeas.

Chickpea growers across New South Wales were dealt a blow on the eve of Christmas when the Indian Government imposed a 30 per cent tariff on chick pea and lentil imports.  The tariff was imposed without warning.

NSW Farmers’ Grains Committee chair, Rebecca Reardon, said farmers across New South Wales hope the Minister’s tough talk in Australia is continued when he arrives in India.

“The new Minister has given assurances to farming groups that he will stand up for the interests of Australian chickpea growers.  With many of these growers living in New South Wales and Queensland, local growers hope the Minister’s rhetoric is backed up with action when his boots are on the ground”, Mrs Reardon said.

“The decision by the Indian Government to impose this 30 per cent import tariff represents a 30 per cent price cut to Australian growers.  With tens of thousands of tonnes of chickpeas already heading for Indian ports, this decision shows a lack of good faith with Australian growers who are helping to meet a domestic production shortfall of this Indian food staple.”

“India, Pakistan and Bangladesh account for almost three quarters of the trade in chickpeas grown in New South Wales.  The Indian market is by far the biggest, accounting for more than $200 million in trade last year alone.” 

Mrs Reardon said this decision made an already difficult year for chickpea growers even tougher.

“This unilateral decision of the Indian Government will cost New South Wales chickpea growers millions and millions of dollars.  Some growers may now even go backwards and make a loss as a result of this decision.”

“This past winter harvest has seen chickpea yields collapse as difficult growing conditions made repeating the bumper 2016 crop a serious challenge.  

“Working together with our national body, Grain Producers Australia, NSW Farmers will continue to fight for the best interests of local chick pea and lentil growers to ensure we get a fair deal for our hard work.”

“Growers across New South Wales wish the new Minister the best of luck as he tackles his first major issue since being sworn in just three weeks ago.  We hope that his rhetoric at home, and his diplomacy abroad, can combine to deliver a just outcome for Australia’s chick pea growers.”

Date: 12 January 2018
Media Contact:   Kathleen Curry  | 0429 011 690