Between 2010 and 2015, pulses production was 16-19 million tonne and there was a huge demand for imports.
MahaFPC, a sub-agent for NAFED for undertaking MSP operations, has started purchasing tur (arhar) at minimum support price from farmers in Maharashtra.
Yogesh Thorat, MD, MahaFPC, said that the agency has purchased around 7,000 quintal out of the target of 65,000 to 70,000 tonne set by the the federation. Tur, which is harvested in December-January, is selling at Rs 4,500 to Rs 4,800 per quintal (below the MSP of Rs 5,800). Some 43,000 farmers have registered online for selling tur, Thorat said.
The state has set a target of buying 2.24 lakh tonne of tur and has extended the deadline for farmer registrations till March 15. At least 2.48 lakh farmers have already registered for selling their crops.
In Maharashtra the procurement process is carried out by the Maharashtra State Cooperative Marketing Federation and MahaFPC. MahaFPC has set up 122 centres of which 118 centres are currently active, Thorat said.
According to Nitin Kalantry, a Latur based processor, there is little demand in the market for tur. Prices of vegetables are lower and the disposable incomes of people have gone down, he said. “Moreover, traders are also buying cautiously and are not piling up inventory due to government policies. This has now become a government driven market and nobody is willing to take a risk,” he said. The farmers’ response to procurement process is good because of the difference between the market prices and the MSP. The market prices are currently ruling at Rs 4,800 per quintal to Rs 5,000 per quintal for good quality tur while the MSP for the commodity is fixed at Rs 5,800 per quintal, he explained.
Also, the country is staring at a bumper harvest in gram (chana) starting this month. The area sown under gram was over 10.5 million hectare, which is about 10% higher than in the previous year. The total area sown under rabi pulses till January 15 was 15.7 million hectare.
Kalantry said that while market prices are Rs 3,800 per quintal to Rs 4,000 per quintal, the MSP is Rs 4,875 per quintal. Procurement for gram is expected to begin from March 15 when arrival of the crop begins to increase, Kalantry said.
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.
Between 2010 and 2015, 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 estimates 26.30 million tonne pulses output.
At a recent meeting in Pune, NAFED officials had said that the agency is gearing up for the procurement of chana. Nafed had procured 68 lakh tonne of pulses during the past three years as India faced its acute pulses shortages in 2015-16.
At present, Nafed holds the total stock of 34.5 lakh tonne of all the pulses, of which about 19 lakh tonne are of chana.
Nafed was criticised for offloading chana when market prices are ruling much below the MSP and the next harvest is about to hit the market. In the previous year, Nafed had procured close to 24% of the total chana produced in the country. Nafed has also started procurement of tur in Karnataka and plans to procure in Maharashtra as well. There was not much procurement of green gram.