Imports of Rice for Three Months Exceeded Figure for Whole 2014

In the first quarter of this year Azerbaijan imported 8 892.2 tons of rice, according to the State Customs Committee. This is 45.7% more than in the whole 2014 (6.1 thousand tons). It seems the customs legalizes the import of goods.

According to the balance of food in Azerbaijan, in 2013 the total rice consumption in the country amounted to 31.6 thousand tons, or 3.3 kg per capita. Of these, 28,485 tons accounted for import, the State Statistics Committee said. However, the SCC has fixed customs duties and taxes of 18 000 tons of this product. A more reliable information about the real volume of imports is in the State Phytosanitary Service of the Ministry of Agriculture, which revealed the fact of imports of rice on more than 10 000 tons more than indicated in the customs records. It is an evasion of the state budget at least $ 15 million. It should be noted that in 2010-2013 the actual volume of rice imports in Azerbaijan was not less than 24 000 tons per year.

Corruption in customs manifests itself on the value of cleared goods. According to the State Customs Committee, in the first quarter of this year, a kilogram of imported rice was issued at an average price of $ 0.27, while for the whole 2014 the average was $ 0.43 / kg. The retail rice sold for about $ 1.70 / kg.

Official costs of importers for the purchase of rice in 2014 amounted to $ 2 million 660.9 thousand. In Georgia, according to the national statistical offices of the country, last year imported rice was issued for a total value of $ 5 million 990.9 thousand.

This year's rice imports from India was carried out (5 185.9 tons - $ 1192 thousand), Russia (2 198.4 tons - $ 481 thousand), Thailand (814 tons - $ 490.7 thousand), Pakistan (445 tons - $ 184.5 thousand) and Turkey (178.2 tons - $ 64.6 thousand).

Note that rice production in Azerbaijan in comparison with 2000 (22.3 thousand tons) declined by more than 4 times and amounted to about 5 thousand tons in 2013. It occurs in conditions of subsidizing rice production: farmers get 40 manat for each hectare of cultivated land on top of 40 manat provided by the state budget subsidies to compensate for the increase in the cost of fuel in 2007. ---08B

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