Pulses production in the country is expected to be only tad higher than last year and measures are being taken to meet the demand through imports, Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Saturday.
“… this year our production may be some more, but I think that it will remain like last year… 172 lakh tonnes, may be 175 lakh tonnes, but our demand will be around 235 lakh tonnes,” Paswan said.
The added that “… unless our production is increased the problem we have to solve only through import system.”
Paswan was addressing the consultation meeting of the southern region organised by Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, aimed at enhancing the consumer advocacy efforts and issues related to consumer affairs.
Stating that the government is already planning for imports to address the shortage, Paswan said, “We have asked the Commerce department that as early as possible permissions be given for imports.”
“We have also started buffer stocks for the pulses in some states that I have visited like Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, FCI is purchasing the pulses.”
Pointing out that pulses is the “only item” whose prices are going up, Paswan said the rise in prices is due to the demand-supply mismatch.
He said the “reason behind it is, in 2013-14 our production was 192 lakh tonnes, this year it was 172 lakh tonnes so there was 20 lakh tonnes shortage in production; and our demand is 226 lakh tonnes.”
“… we have imported 45 lakh tonnes, it was 11 lakh tonnes gap,” he added.
Paswan also noted that addressing the problem of shortage of pulses is the responsibility of his department along with Agriculture and Commerce departments, and it needs to be tackled collectively.
He said recent analysis shows that prices of pulses have come down and those of all other food products were also decreasing.
The minister complimented Karnataka and other states for taking action to prevent black marketing.