Cold waves and untimely rains may further damage the standing crop, according to agriculture dept reports.
Arhar (tur) prices are likely to remain firm and go upwards in Maharashtra on the back of shortage of supply for the pulse due to drought in the state. Traders fear the situation will be similar in other states as well.
Retail prices of tur and moong have already jumped up by Rs 4-10 per kg in the past few days and there are reports of a 50% reduction in the tur crop because of drought in the state.
Lalitbhai Shah, chairman, Latur Agriculture Produce Market Committee — one of the key pulse growing regions in the state — said the season had begun barely a fortnight ago and arrivals were in the tune of 4,000-5,000 quintals on a daily basis. Normally, this time arrivals were double, he said, adding that there could be a shortage this year, with reports of a 50% cut in the yield.
Prices were hovering in the range of `5,200-5,457 per quintal near the minimum support price (MSP) mark and prices were likely to rise further, he said. As per market reports, the uptrend in tur continued on weak crop report and dip in the sowing area with tur (Maharashtra) rising to `5,500-5,550 per quintal , while tur (Madhya Pradesh) ruling `4,800-5,100 per quintal.
The tur-producing states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, had a dry spell, hence the production was very less, Nitin Kalantri, a major pulse trader in Latur, pointed out.
The current arrival of tur is nearly 30-40% short in comparison to the same period last year. Tur production has also come down to 30 lakh tonne from 47 lakh tonne in the previous season, industry experts said.
In Maharashtra, Latur, Amravati, Jalgaon, Udgir, Akola, and other regions of Marathwada and Vidarbha are the main tur growing regions. In 2017, overproduction of tur became a cause of concern for farmers. Consequently in the next season, farmers cut down on tur sowing. According to traders, tur has recorded the highest spike in prices in the past 20 days as arrival of the new crop has dipped by 30% in comparison to the same period last year.
Significantly, in 2018, rate of tur in the wholesale market was `4,500-4,000 per tonne which was below MSP of `5,675, while imported tur was available at `3,400-3,500 per quintal in the wholesale market. The rate last year was in the range of `70-60 per kg. The government has put a cap on wholesalers for keeping stock up to `3 lakh.
Export of tur was also allowed and the rates still remained stable, traders said. The MSP of tur was hiked from `5,450 per quintal to `5,675. The government also stopped the import of pulses a year ago and these measures were showing impact, Kalantri said. In kharif pulses (October-March), the area under cultivation across the country had dropped from 157 lakh hectare to 149 lakh hectare till last week.
Cold waves and untimely rains may further damage the standing crop, according to reports from agriculture department.
The bumper crop of pulses in the past two seasons prompted the government to cut down on imports as well as export the excess quantity.
In 2016-17, India produced 231.3 lakh tonne of pulses, followed by an even better crop size of 252.3 lakh tonne in 2017-18.
There was a steep jump of around 150% in pulses exports, with India shipping 2.15 lakh tonne during April-November 2018 as against 87,896 tonne in the year-ago period. In 2018-19, the production is likely to be 220 lakh tonne, just enough to meet India’s requirement of 250 lakh tonne with a buffer stock of 36 lakh tonne.