Sri Lanka - Due to unbelievably high import taxes levied on maize which makes up 50 per cent of the poultry feed, a leading manufacturer of feed, who turned to a cheaper substitute by importing five container loads of manioc powder, has burnt his fingers badly, when the imported quantity was found to have been contaminated with a deadly toxin.
Owner of Super Feeds, Mawanella Walter Samarasinghe told that he placed an order for 100 tonnes of manioc powder at $185 per tonne FOB with a Philippino supplier he contacted through the internet as they were finding it difficult to continue with their business, but when the consignment reached Colombo at the beginning of this month it was found to be contaminated with the deadly Afla toxin and it was also short by 25 tonnes.
Samarasighe said as ordered by authorities he had the consignment fumigated before opening, burnt it in furrows cut into a ten acre estate and buried the burnt consignment in the same furrows.
He is now hoping to recover his loss of about four million rupees from the insurer.
Director General of Animal Production and Health Dr. Swarna Herath confirmed that the exercise was completed in the presence of two of her officers.
Health sources said the country was lucky that the authorities detected the toxin no sooner the consignment reached Colombo as otherwise had it gone into feed, birds would have got severely affected. It being a cumulative toxin it gets stored in the liver of the birds, causing liver damage and retarding growth and if such chicken had been consumed it would have been passed on to humans.
The Super Feeds owner said they resorted to cheaper substitute as the import taxes on maize totals to about 75 per cent of its landed cost. He and other manufacturers charge that firms coming under BOI like Prima and Gold Coin were exempted from the custom duty of 15 per cent introduced from March this year, thereby giving them an unfair advantage over local producers. In addition to the 15 per cent customs duty, there is a cess of 35 percent plus other taxes all totaling about 75 per cent of the landed cost of maize
Director General of Fiscal Policy at the Finance Ministry S.R. Atygalle, asked about this unfair anomaly, said this was a measure decided in March at a meeting chaired by senior presidential advisor Basil Rajapaksa to help the local maize grower, but they hoped to review it soon.
He said the matter was handled by Director General Trade and Tariff Chandra Ekanayake, but she could not be contacted yesterday.