The India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) has predicted a strong possibility of reduction in pulse production, especially due to uncertainty over sowing this crop year due to the pandemic.
The country may face shortage of pulses including lentils, gram and other pulses this year. He said that this year there may be a shortfall of about one million tonnes in the production of tur.
IPGA Vice-Chairman Bimal Kothari said that as the apex body for trade, IPGA is bringing this to the attention of the government to enhance the supply side.
According to Kothari, there has been no long-term policy in pulses over the years, and the association is recommending the need for a consistent long-term policy for trade as demand is rising. The Indian government is concerned that there should not be cheap imports and hence, they restricted most of the imports, he said.
He said the association has urged the government to make imports free with the condition that the minimum landing price of the imported goods should be higher than the minimum support price (MSP) of the crop.
In addition, the Center has asked state governments to monitor pulses under the Essential Commodities Act to control any increase in prices. “These directions have only served to create apprehension among the stakeholders, who are now hesitant to buy domestically produced pulses as well as import pulses. This is defeating the basic purpose of the government’s move to lift the ban on import of tur, urad and moong,” Kothari said. According to the third advance estimate obtained from the website of the Ministry of Agriculture, the production of tur for the crop year 2020-21 is expected to be lower by about 7 lakh tonnes and that of urad by 5.20 lakh tonnes, and the total production of kharif is expected to be lower by 2.12 million tonnes. is.
However, as per trade estimates, the production of tur has been around 2.90 million tonnes, urad around 2.06 million tonnes, moong about 2 million tonnes, gram around 9 million tonnes and lentils around 0.95 million tonnes.
He said that the aim of the government is to double the income of the farmers and this can happen only when traders can freely purchase their produce without fear of harsh action from the central and state governments. On the other hand, the government also wants to ensure adequate availability of scheduled goods to the common people at reasonable prices.
“Traders are concerned that even legitimately purchased stock may come under scrutiny and within the purview of the Essential Commodities Act, leading the trader to the wrong side of the law through no fault of his. Hence, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution needs to issue a clear clarification stating that their intention is to monitor the stock held by the business for policy purposes which will help allay the fears of the trade. , “They said.
According to Kothari, the country’s production has increased to 23 million tonnes from the 2015-16 average and the demand is 25-26 million tonnes. “We are importing around 25 lakh tonnes and adding 10 lakh tonnes to our demand every year. We are talking of self-reliance, but it should be a continuous process as the production target cannot be just 25-26 million tonnes, we also need to scale up the production, look at the ground reality and import.”
Speaking about the high prices of pulses at the retail outlets, he said that the government needs to keep a very close watch on the prices at the retail level. IPGA, for the past few years, has been tracking prices at the retail level as compared to prices at the wholesale or ex-mill level. “We have found that the prices at the retail level are on average Rs 50 per kg higher than the conventional wholesale/ex-mill rates. At present, while the average wholesale price for tur dal is around Rs 95 per kg, urad dal at Rs 110 per kg and moong dal at Rs 92 per kg, the average retail price is Rs. Rs 130/- per kg for tur dal, Rs 160 per kg for urad dal and Rs 115 per kg for moong dal. However, whenever there is a discussion about high prices, the focus is on the traders and not the retailers. This needs to change,” he said.
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