New Delhi–India on Sunday approved the import of 5 lakh tonnes of corn to tide over a domestic shortage that could spark off price rise and hoarding.

“To check prices & prevent hoarding Smt @nsitharaman approves importing 5,00,000 MT of maize under Tarrif Rate Quota by State Trading Entp,” the Indian commerce ministry said in a tweet announcing the approval given by Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman prior to leaving for Russia to attend the Innoprom manufacturing exposition where India is the partner country this year.

With the output of the maize crop being impacted by two successive years of poor rainfall, the tariff rate quota system will permit its duty-free import.

The major demand for corn in India comes from industries like poultry and starch manufacturing.