Pulses prices on fir, here’s how centre’s looking to lighten the load on consumers

By: | Published: July 12, 2016 6:12 AM

In a bid to curb price rise and increase pulses production, the government on Monday decided to set up a committee to relook at the minimum support price (MSP) and bonus to be offered to farmers.

Besides Mozambique, the government is also exploring possibilities of import of pulses from African countries like Malawi through leasing of farms for growing pulses to meet domestic demand. (Source: PTI)

In a bid to curb price rise and increase pulses production, the government on Monday decided to set up a committee to relook at the minimum support price (MSP) and bonus to be offered to farmers.

Following the meeting of inter-ministerial high-powered committee chaired by finance minister Arun Jaitley, the government has decided to increase the size of the buffer stock of pulses to 20 lakh tonne from the existing 8 lakh tonne.”

“The government decided to explore avenues for imports from more pulse-growing nations on a government-to-government basis,” food minister Ram Vilas Paswan said after the meeting.

Besides Mozambique, the government is also exploring possibilities of import of pulses from African countries like Malawi through leasing of farms for growing pulses to meet domestic demand.

India has already signed an agreement with African nation Mozambique for import of tur dal up to two lakh tonne in next five years. It is also negotiating with Myanmar.

Paswan said the committee chaired by the chief economic adviser will re-examine the MSP and bonus being given to pulses growers at present and frame an appropriate policy to promote cultivation of lentils in India. “The committee will give report on the next two weeks,” he said.

The government earlier had announced a sharp increase in MSP of kharif pulses for the 2016-17. Paswan also said the pulse prices will start coming down in the next couple of months as domestic production is estimated to be higher at 20 million tonne (MT) this year, as against over 17 MT in 2015-16.

The pulses prices especially — tur or arhar, urad and moong — have been rising despite several government measures such as imposition of stockholding limits on traders, creation of buffer stock and ban on chana futures in the commodity bourse NCDEX.

For creating buffer stocks of pulses, the government agencies — Food Corporation of India (FCI), Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) and farmers cooperative Nafed — have so far procured 1.15 lakh tonne of pulses (urad and tur/arhar) in the just concluded kharif and rabi seasons.

The food ministry has urged the state governments to seek allocation of pulses from the buffer stock and sell at reasonable prices not exceeding R120 per kg in the market.

The country had imported 4.5 million tonne (MT) of pulses mostly carried out by private parties for meeting domestic shortfall in FY15 and in the last fiscal the imports were around 5 MT.

The country’s pulses production is estimated to have fallen to 17.06 MT in 2015-16 from 19.25 MT in the 2013-14, due to a deficient monsoon last year. The annual domestic consumption of pulses is around 26-27 MT.

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