The weak demand and sluggish trend continue for majority of pulses with tur in Maharashtra declining to Rs 4,400-4,475 a quintal, while tur in Madhya Pradesh ruled at Rs 3,950 per quintal. Although the government has procured some 1,12,900 quintals of tur from around 10,919 farmers, industry sources feel that the sluggish trend is likely to continue. The government has declared a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 5,400 per quintal for tur and has begun procuring pulses from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana. In Maharashtra, till date, more than 1.12 lakh quintals have been procured from some 161 procurement centres, according to senior officials. The Centre has procured over 5.60 lakh tonne of urad and moong at the support price worth Rs 3,077 crore under the price support scheme (PSS) in the 2017-18 kharif season so far, according to official data.
Under the PSS, procurement is undertaken to protect farmers when market rates fall below the minimum support price (MSP) level. These pulses have been procured at the MSP from seven states – Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
The maximum quantity of 3,93,059 tonne of urad and moong has been purchased from Rajasthan under the PSS, followed by 64,098 tonne from Maharashtra and 35,085 tonne from Karnataka. Only urad has been procured in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh and the quantities purchased stood at 19,550 tonne and 17,434 tonne, respectively.
Nitin Kalantri, a major pulse trader from Latur – a key pulse producing region in Maharashtra – says that while prices may firm up by Rs 300-400 per quintal, the bearish trend is likely to continue. “There seems to be little uptake in demand for pulses. Since vegetable prices are low, consumers are showing a marked preference to vegetables instead of pulses. Moreover, there is no price parity in the export market and therefore little prospects for exports as well. Tur prices have been below the MSP levels even before arrivals began in the market,” he said.
Industry experts say that farmers are still waiting and arrivals are weak. Tur has been cultivated on some 12.19 lakh hectares of land in the state compared to 15.32 lakh hectares in 2016-17. Industry people pointed out that in the absence of demand for other crops as well, where prices have also remained below MSP, farmers continue to opt for pulses because of lack of options. The state is expected to produce some 9.83 lakh tonne tur this year.