The government has purchased more than 35,000 tonne of pulses — tur and urad — in the ongoing kharif marketing season so far. The Centre has set a procurement target of 50,000 tonne in the current season to create a buffer stock for controlling prices of pulses.
Sources told FE that while FCI has purchased more than 14,500 tonne of tur from farmers by paying the market price, cooperative Nafed has so far lifted 15,300 tonne of arhar dal.
Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) and Nafed, on the other hand, have purchased 3,200 tonne and 1,750 tonne of urad dal, respectively.
The pulses have been procured in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Telangana.
While the government has provided Nafed with around R300 crore from the Price Stabilisation Fund, the finance ministry has made a provision for the procurement of pulses by FCI and SFAC.
At present, FCI, the government’s grain procurement agency, purchases only rice and wheat from farmers. When pulse prices drop below the MSP, the agricultural ministry occasionally intervenes in a limited scale by ordering purchases by Nafed and SFAC.
Last year, the government had decided to create a buffer stock of around 1 lakh tonne of pulses. The decision to create a buffer stock was taken when the retail prices of arhar in Delhi were ruling high at R200 per kg, while urad was being sold at R190 per kg in October 2015.
According to official data, the country had imported 4.5 million tonne (MT) of pulses for meeting domestic shortfall last fiscal and in the current year the imports are expected to be around 4.1 MT. Besides private imports, state-run MMTC imported 5,000 tonne of tur dal to augment domestic supplies.
The country’s pulses production is estimated to have fallen to 17.38 MT in 2014-15 from 19.25 MT in the previous crop year due to a deficient monsoon last year. The annual domestic consumption of pulses is around 22 to 23 MT.
Earlier last year, a high-level committee (HLC) had suggested the government to revisit the MSP policy