After wheat, rice, govt targets to make India surplus in pulses

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Published: February 11, 2020 12:05:53 AM

After wheat and rice, the government targets to make the country surplus in pulses, catering to demand from other countries, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said.

Pulses production has improved to the level of 230 lakh tonne since 2016-17 from 160-180 lakh tonnes level.The country had produced 23.4 million tonne of pulses during 2018-19 crop year (July-June).

After wheat and rice, the government targets to make the country surplus in pulses, catering to demand from other countries, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said. However, the ambitious target can be achieved when the productivity of pulses is raised, which is still below pre-Green Revolution levels, he added. Stating that India is almost on the path to become self-sufficient in pulses, Tomar said: “As of now, maximum of the domestic requirement is being met in India itself. We will further boost pulses production and will also help in meeting the global demand.”

The country had produced 23.4 million tonne of pulses during 2018-19 crop year (July-June), against annual domestic demand of about 27 million tonne. Production of pulses was recorded 25.4 million tonne in 2017-18 and the output dropped last year due to crop damage in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Speaking at a conference on pulses, Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand said there is a need to improve yield level of pulses which at present is lower than pre-Green Revolution days of 1965. He suggested strengthening the research and development for improving productivity, reorientation of trade policies and increase in private investment to achieve the target. Identification of pulses that suit different crop sequence will also help in raising output, Chand said, adding that more number of people are becoming vegan across the world.

The yield of tur was 656 kg/hectare in 2015-16 against an all-time record of 867 kg/hectare in 1956-57. However, the all-India average yield of all pulses is 841 kg/hectare, which is more than the pre-1965 levels (520 kg). Still, India is way below the world’s highest of 5,537 kg/ hectare in Australia. Even Madhya Pradesh, which has the highest productivity among all states, has an average yield of 1,084 kg in all pulses combined, according to the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP).

Tomar said that the government has taken a number of initiatives including hike in the minimum support prices (MSPs) and creation of buffer stock of pulses to support farmers. He also said that pulses are becoming necessary not only in India but also in other countries. Between 2010 and 2015, the pulses production was 16-19 million tonne and there was a huge demand for imports. Countries like Myanmar, Canada and Malawi had in fact started growing pulses only for the purpose of selling to India. This crop year, the government targets 26.30 million tonne pulses output.

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