With a lack of demand in the market following a carryover of the previous season’s stock, prices of pulses in Maharashtra, especially moong and urad, have dropped below minimum support price (MSP) levels. Maharashtra cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh said a proposal has been sent to the Centre seeking permission for procuring moong and urad under the government’s MSP scheme. Procurement should commence in the next 7-8 days, the minister said, adding that the number of procurement centres to be established has not been decided yet. The MSP of moong is Rs 5,575 per quintal while market prices are currently at a minimum of Rs 4,200-4,300 and maximum of Rs 5,200-5,300. The MSP of urad is at Rs 5,450 per quintal while market prices are ranging between Rs 4,500 and Rs 5,000 per quintal. With a price difference of nearly Rs 1,200 per quintal between the MSP and market prices, farmers are concerned over their crop. Deshmukh pointed out that farmers should not get into the panic mode and start distress sales since the government is sympathetically considering their case. Moreover, it is just the start of the season, he said.
Nitin Kalantry, one of the major pulses traders in Latur and director of Kalantry Food Products, said there is no demand in the market for both the pulses. “With the government deciding to sell pulses from the buffer stocks in the market at the prevailing prices in mandis, there is no demand for the new crop arrivals. Moreover, the procurement under MSP has not begun, leaving farmers high and dry,” he said. The cropping pattern of moong is endangered in western Maharashtra and Marathwada regions due to a prolonged dry spell of monsoon. “The carry-forward situation is pretty comfortable this season and therefore there is little demand. I do not see any pick-up for the next six months at least, Kalantry said, adding that the government’s decision to open up exports of tur, moong and urad dal at this stage has not helped the farmers and the government should have begun planning earlier. The association had written to the Prime Minister’s Office in August urging the government to be prepared so that there is no repeat of the previous year, but in vain, Kalantry said. Significantly, the government has decided to sell pulses from buffer stocks in the market at the prevailing price in mandis across Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Karnataka.
Moreover, the government has also opened up exports of tur, moong and urad dal after more than a decade. This is expected to help support prices of urad and moong currently being harvested and the bumper tur crop, which will hit the markets in the next two to three months.