Increase in prices of pulses may register highest growth this year due to untimely rains which have severely affected 2.28 million tonnes (MT) of Rabi crop and widened the gap between demand and supply to the extent of 6 MT, says an Assocham study.
“Currently, pulses prices are heading for a two-year high and the present unseasonal rains in north India is resulting in humongous crop losses,” said D S Rawat, Secretary General, Assocham, while releasing the study.
As against recommended daily requirement of 50-60 grams, current availability of pulses is less than 30 grams per day, he added.
Declining per capita availability of pulses and likely high prices in 2015 is a matter of serious concern on the nutritional security of the nation. It is an accepted fact that intake of cereals along with pulses help in achieving balanced diet.
The actual availability of pulses for consumption, Rawat lamented is far below what the numbers show as supply.
Madhya Pradesh is the largest pulses producer in the country, followed by Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Indicatively, trade sources estimate kharif pulses production at 5.3 MT and rabi pulses at 12.2 MT which add up to 17.5 MT for the crop year 2014-15, a decline of 2.28 MT over last year.
Import of pulses in the current fiscal has already crossed preliminary estimates considered by the government.
However, majority of the imports arrive during the second half of calendar year, coinciding with the harvest and shipments from Canada, US, Australia and Europe.
The wholesale price index for pulses is currently at a two year high. During January, 2013, it was at 244.3, which came down to 226.9 in January, 2014 and in January, 2015, it stood at 254.9.
Currently, pulses wholesale index is at 256.9.
Further, market sentiments on the pulses front have firmed up due to continuing news about crop losses in northern and central India, it added.
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