Expressing concern over falling chana (chickpea) prices, the All-India Dal Mills Association has demanded a ban on futures trading in the commodity.
Expressing concern over falling chana (chickpea) prices, the All-India Dal Mills Association has demanded a ban on futures trading in the commodity. In separate representations submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union minister for commerce and industry Suresh Prabhu and Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, the association president, Suresh Agrawal, has urged the government to ban futures trading in chana, keeping the interests of small farmers and traders in mind as the prices have been ruling lower than the minimum support prices for the past few months.
In the representations to the government, Agrawal has expressed concern over declining prices in the physical market and losses being incurred by small traders and farmers on account of falling prices. He alleged that currently, futures trading on the NCDEX is being monopolised by selected companies and big businessmen. “The way these companies and big businessmen are running chana trading in futures market is causing impractical price movement which is hampering the interests of small businessmen and farmers,” he said. An earlier representation was submitted to the government last month on March 17.
The association had also last year urged the government to exempt chana from futures trading, keeping in view the excessive domestic production. According to Agrawal, majority of farmers are marginal, who own very less chunk of agricultural land and it appears to be illogical to presume that those farmers who produce 20 tonne of chana, will engage themselves in the trading of thousands of tonnes of the commodity.
He alleged that volatility in the trade has disturbed the actual physical trade. A bullish run on a day is followed by a fall in prices thus disturbing trade, he alleged. While the settlement of deliveries are done on the 20th of every month, there is volatility in the market after the 10th of the month, Agrawal said. Chana output this year is expected to be around 111 lakh tonne against last year’s 93.8 lakh tonne. Currently, chana in the physical market is ruling at `3,700 a quintal, down `700 from its MSP. Prices of pulses fell below MSP this season due to higher output in the country and increased imports from Australia and Canada. The All India Dal Mill Association has been demanding immediate ban on imports and allowing export of at least 25 lakh tonne of pulses to check price fall.
“Pulses farmers are suffering from huge losses this season because prices have gone below MSP. Government purchase will help in limiting the losses,” Agrawal had stated earlier. MSP of chana is `4,400 per quintal, masur `4,250 per quintal and mustard `4,000 per quintal. Industry experts said poor prices of pulses may discourage sowing in the next season, hitting availability for domestic consumption. They also pointed out that around 30 lakh tonne of pulses is required to meet annual local demand and if production takes a hit then imports will have to go up to meet the local demand.