After soaring high, arhar prices set to plunge as output hopes rise

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New Delhi | Updated: December 23, 2016 7:21:02 AM

The retail prices of pulses, particularly tur (arhar), which had skyrocketed earlier this year, have started to soften across major cities in the last couple of weeks, following the arrivals of kharif output in the mandis in key producing states including Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana.

According to a trader from Maharashtra which accounts for around 25% of the total annual output of tur, the prices are set to fall further to around Rs 80 per kg within next one month. (Reuters)According to a trader from Maharashtra which accounts for around 25% of the total annual output of tur, the prices are set to fall further to around Rs 80 per kg within next one month. (Reuters)

The retail prices of pulses, particularly tur (arhar), which had skyrocketed earlier this year, have started to soften across major cities in the last couple of weeks, following the arrivals of kharif output in the mandis in key producing states including Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana.

As per the department of consumer affairs data, the retail prices of tur, which had touched close to Rs 200 per kg in many cities in April this years, have now declined to around Rs 100 per kg in cities such as Delhi and Mumbai. The prices of tur in Kolkata dropped to Rs 96 a kg on Wednesday.

According to a trader from Maharashtra which accounts for around 25% of the total annual output of tur, the prices are set to fall further to around Rs 80 per kg within next one month.

“We are expecting a bumper harvest from Maharashtra and Karnataka as farmers had taken up tur cultivation because of higher price realiation last year,” Nitin Kalantri, who has a pulses processing unit in Latur, Maharashtra told FE.

He said that the government’s decision to create buffer stocks of two million tonnes of pulses for curbing future price rise through imports as well as domestic procurement have not helped farmers, as the government agencies have not been able to sell their stocks of around 1.2 lakh tonne to retail buyers so far because of lack of marketing infrastructure.

According to Jayajirao Suryavanshi, a farmer leader from Aurangabad, Maharashtra, the tur prices are expected to fall further as output from Mynamar would start arriving in the country by February, 2017. “We have been urging the government to intervene and procure pulses from farmers so that they get at least Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce,” he said.

As tur prices rose sharply earlier this year following two back-to-back drought years (2015 and 2016), the government decided to create a buffer stocks of two million tonne besides scouting for partners in Mozambique to grow pulses for the country’s domestic consumption.

According to agriculture ministry’s advance estimate, tur output this kharif season (2016-17) is likely to achieve a record 4.29 lakh tonne, which is more than 78% jump from 2.4 lakh tonne produced in the previous year. The government’s estimate also indicated that the pulse output during 2016-17 crop year (July-June) is expected to reach all time record output of 207.5 lakh tonne.

As reported by FE, the farmers’ multi-state cooperative — National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed) has commenced tur procurement from farmers through its centres at Narayanpet, Tandur and Mahbubnagar (Telangana), Latur (Maharashtra) and Bidar and Kalaburgi (Karnataka).

Since farmers have began bringing in kharif harvest to mandis in the past one week , the tur or arhar prices have fallen below MSP of Rs 5,050 per quintal in most of the centers across three states. In the last couple of days, Nafed has purchased more than 120 tonne of tur from the farmers. Tur is long duration kharif pulse crop. The country consumes around 21 – 22 MT of pulses annually. Around 4 MT of pulses are imported to meet domestic demand.

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