Why bearish trend in prices of pulses is expected to continue

By: | Published: January 18, 2018 2:25 AM

Prices of tur are ruling below MSP across major markets in the key growing regions such as Maharashtra and Karnataka, among other states.

Pulse prices across the country, that ruled below the minimum support price (MSP) for the previous season, are expected to remain bearish this season as well.

Pulse prices across the country, that ruled below the minimum support price (MSP) for the previous season, are expected to remain bearish this season as well. As farmer registrations for the procurement of tur (arhar) at the MSP still continue in Maharashtra, the government has managed to get another extension for the procurement of urad (black gram) at MSP. The Centre has granted extension till January 20. This is the third extension granted by the government. Prices of tur are ruling below MSP across major markets in the key growing regions such as Maharashtra and Karnataka, among other states. While tur is ruling 20-40% below the MSP level of Rs 5,450 per quintal, the market prices of black gram are hovering at Rs 4,000 as against the MSP of Rs 5,400 in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka. moong (green gram) also continues to rule at 10-20 % below the MSP of Rs 5,575 in various markets while chana (Bengal gram) is also selling at Rs 3,650 per quintal while MSP is Rs 4,400 per quintal for the past few months. Tur procurement has begun in Karnataka and it has announced a bonus of Rs 550 per quintal over the Centre’s MSP. Farmers in Maharashtra are still queuing up for registrations.

Officials in the Maharashtra agriculture department revealed that the Centre has approved procurement of tur at MSP and final letter is expected soon. The country is heading for a bumper harvest of chana on rise in rabi acreage as market arrivals of tur are slowly gaining pace although demand is muted. Officials said the Maharashtra government has received an extension for the purchase of urad from the Centre till January 20. The targets for urad procurement have been met at 52,000 tonne, he said. Barring masur (red lentil), the prices of most kharif and rabi pulses — moong, chana, urad or tur — have stayed below the MSP. While the Centre has recently taken a series of steps such as removal of export curbs on pulses, imposing import duty of 30 % on chana and masur among others.

According to Nitin Kalantri, one of Latur’s larger pulse traders, the demand for pulses is low as vegetable prices have dropped and millers, wholesalers and stockists are currently making staggered purchases. The recent Bhavantar Yojana of Madhya Pradesh, that offered farmers the difference in the market prices and MSP in their bank accounts, has resulted in a market collapse since farmers brought almost all of their produce into markets in this two-three-month period, he explained. Under this scheme, the modal prices of three pulse producing states was compared and farmers were paid the difference in the average of the three modal prices and MSP in their bank accounts. Kalantri suggested that the government should come out with an awareness campaign for people to consume more pulses since prices have dropped on the lines of the egg campaign. This could result in a market pick up, he felt. Kalantri pointed out that imports should begin after April since the ban on imports continues till March. According to the first advance estimate of kharif foodgrain crops, tur production is expected to decline by 16.5% from 47.8lakh tonne in 2016-17 to 39.9 lakh tonne in 2017-18. The Centre is targeting a production of 22.9 million tonne of pulses, almost same as that of last year.

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