In a bid to create a buffer stock of pulses, the government agencies — Food Corporation of India (FCI), Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) and farmers cooperative Nafed have so far procured 1.1 lakh tonne of pulses (urad and tur/arhar) in the last kharif and rabi seasons.
Besides, another 50,000 tonnes of pulses are being imported by the government-owned agencies for creation of buffer stock. At present 11,000 tonne of tur and 2,000 tonne of urad have been already imported while about 6,000 tonne would be imported shortly. According to a food ministry statement, contracts for 38.500 tonne pulses would be awarded soon.
Meanwhile, the food ministry urged the state governments to seek allocation of pulses from the buffer stock and sell at reasonable prices not exceeding `120 per kg in the market. An inter-ministerial committee consisting of food, agriculture and finance ministry officials held a meeting on Tuesday to review the prices of essential commodities.
Last year, the government had decided to create a buffer stock of pulses of around 1.5 lakh tonne so that it can be released in the market when prices start rising sharply in the domestic market.
The prices of pulses, especially that of arhar or tur and urad, have been steadily rising because of supply constraints since August last year. The retail price of arhar has crossed `160 a kg in most of the places across the country.
Following Tuesday’s meeting, Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Telangana have been allocated some quantity of pulses by the consumer affairs ministry on receiving their requests. In Delhi, Kendriya Bhandar and Safal have been allocated pulses to sell through their outlets. So far 635.31 quintals of tur and 245 quintals of urad have been sold by these agencies at `120 per kg.
The country had imported 4.5 million tonne (MT) of pulses mostly carried out by private parties for meeting domestic shortfall in FY15 and in
the last fiscal the imports were around 4.1 MT.
The country’s pulses production is estimated to have fallen to 17.06 MT in 2015-16 from 19.25 MT in the 2013-14, due to a deficient monsoon last year. The annual domestic consumption of pulses is around 22-23 million tonne.
Meanwhile, to deal with the perennial problem of price rise, the consumer affairs ministry had earlier stressed for involvement of an independent agency for forecasting the availability and demand of key agricultural commodities in both domestic and global markets.