With pulses prices, especially moong, falling steadily over the past few days, the Centre today directed the agencies, Nafed and SFAC, to gear up for procurement of the pulse at the minimum support price plus bonus, in Karnataka and other growing states.
A decision in this regard was taken at the inter- ministerial committee (IMC) meeting, headed by Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande, here today. The issue was yesterday discussed in detail at the Prime Minister’s Office.
“Pulses prices have started falling in mandis. In case of moong (green gram), prices have gone below the MSP level in some places. We are going to start the MSP operation,” Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters.
The pulses will be procured at the MSP rate in order to protect the interest of farmers, who have sown lentils in a big way that production is seen at 20 million tonnes, he said.
Paswan said wholesale pulses prices are falling sharply as hoarders are offloading the stock ahead of harvesting of new crop and more imports.
The IMC reviewed the pulses prices and directed the agencies Nafed and SFAC (Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium) to prepare a road map for procurement of kharif pulses, the arrival of which will begin from October, a senior Consumer Affairs Ministry official said.
To start with, the Committee has asked the agencies to procure moong in Karnataka and Rajasthan, where arrival has begun in small quantities and prices are reported to have dipped below the MSP rate.
The IMC also asked the agencies to set up adequate procurement centres in key pulses growing states such as Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, where the area under pulses has gone up significantly this year.
The agencies have been told to make payment directly to the farmers’ bank accounts.
Senior officials from Agriculture, Commerce, Food, MMTC, Nafed and SFAC were present in the IMC meeting today.
Yesterday, the PMO had also reviewed the pulses price issue and directed the Consumer Affairs Ministry to ensure farmers get the MSP rate. While retail prices are still ruling high and pinching hard the consumers pocket, the government’s concern has now shifted towards farmers as it wants to encourage them to continue growing lentils in the coming years.
It may be noted the government has hiked sharply the MSP of pulses and announced bonus on top of it to encourage pulses production this year. It has fixed moong MSP (including bonus) at Rs 5,225 per quintal, tur at Rs 5050 per quintal and urad at Rs 5,000 per quintal for the ongoing 2016-17 kharif season.
On the back of two consecutive droughts, pulses output had dropped in 2015-16 and 2014-15 to 17.06 million tonnes and 17.15 million tonnes, respectively, against 19 million tonnes in 2013-14, leading to a spike in retail prices.