State-run MMTC is looking to import 5,000 tonnes of pulses to keep the domestic prices under control by increasing the availability of lentils.
The gap in demand and supply of pulses has widened in the last two years due to drought. Pulse production is around 17 million tonnes while demand is for 23.6 million tonnes (MT).
The country had imported around 5.5 MT of pulses in 2015-16, there is still a shortfall of around 1 MT, putting upward pressure on prices.
The government is importing pulses through MMTC, using Price Stabilisation Fund for creating buffer stock of pulses and other essential commodities so as to intervene in the market to check prices when need arises.
According to the tender document, the MMTC has invited bids for import of Desi Chick Peas from Canada or Australia. The bid should be made for minimum 2,500 tonnes and last date is June 15.
“Note that all the pulses quoted shall be from new crop and shall be sound, clean, wholesome, free from moulds/fungus, …artificial colour, admixture of unwholesome substance and should be of reasonable uniform size, shape and colour characteristics,” MMTC said in the tender.
The Centre is procuring pulses to create a buffer stock of 1.5 lakh tonnes. State-run agencies FCI, NAFED and SFAC had already procured 1.11 lakh tonnes of pulses so far from farmers for creating buffer stock.
At the same time, for raising lentils’ domestic output, the Centre has raised their minimum support price (MSP) by up to Rs 425 per quintal for this year.
The tur MSP has been raised to Rs 5,050 per quintal for this year from Rs 4,625 per quintal last year.
Moong support price has been increased to Rs 5,225 per quintal for the 2016-17 kharif season from Rs 4,850 per quintal in the year-ago period. Urad MSP has been raised to Rs 5,000 per quintal from Rs 4,625 in the said period.
India is the world’s largest producer of pulses, but its domestic demand outstrips production. The shortfall is met from import.
As per the Agriculture Ministry’s estimate, pulse production is estimated at 17.33 MT in 2015-16 crop year (July-June), marginally higher than the previous year’s production of 17.15 MT.