While the sowing area of pulses is up 3.5% across the country, it has gone down by 19.22 % for arhar (tur) , according to latest estimates by the government. The data indicates sowing area of 93.36 lakh hectares for pulses against 90.30 lakh hectares same time last year. For arhar , the area is 29.32 lakh hectares compared to 36.30 lakh hectares last year. Tur sowing has gone down in key growing states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana. Urad ( black gram) sowing is up by 24.85% at 26.71 lakh hectares as against 21.40 lakh hectares. Following a decline in wholesale prices of pulses like arhar and moong over the last six months, farmers across India have reduced planting of these varieties. Interestingly, urad continues to command prices near MSP and therefore farmers have shown a preference for urad over other pulses, according to Yogesh Thorat, MD, MahaFPC, a federation of farmer producer companies in Maharashtra.
According to most estimates, prices of pulses are likely to remain below MSP this season and therefore most of the procurement in the coming season is likely under the Centre’s Price Support Scheme ( PSS) and not the Price Stabilisation Fund, Thorat said. A recent internal survey conducted by MahaFPCreveals a shift from tur to other pulses or crops. The survey was conducted by 44 FPCs in 16 districts of the state.The survey revealed that pulses are under stress due to last year’s sharp decline in prices and gap in monsoon. According to the survey, majority of the farmers have shifted from tur to urad cultivation due to better price realisations of the crop last year. Along with the traditional belt of Latur and Nanded, urad sowing is increasing in rainfed blocks of Pune, Ahmednagar and Solapur regions of Maharashtra.
Thorat said arhar arhar is again getting shifted to its traditional belt of Osmanabad, Nanded, Parbhani, Budhana, Akola and some parts of Ahmednagar. Farmers from Aurangabad and Jalna have shifted to cotton whereas those in Pune, Solapur and Ahmednagar have shown prospects for growing sugarcane. Moong has not been sown in Aurangabad and Jalna due to non-availability of soil moisture. The cropping pattern of moong in endangered in western Maharashtra and Marathwada due to a prolonged dry spell of monsoon. Nitin Kalantry, senior trader from Latur, a key pulse growing region in Maharashtra and director, Kalantry Food Products, says that there may not be a drastic change in the cropping pattern because farmers have few alternatives on ground. “The carry forward situation is pretty comfortable this season and therefore there will not be much of a problem next year,” he said. “A clearer picture will emerge at the end of the season when the sowing window closes, which is around July 30. Prices will depend on sowing situation and government policies,” he added.