This is the right time for the Indian agricultural sector to identify pulses’ importance as the second-best alternative crop for production
By Vishal Dagar & Komal Chhikara
The CACP has proposed to increase tur MSP to Rs 6,000 for 2020-21 against Rs 5,800 in 2019-20. New MSP for urad has been proposed at Rs 6,000 against Rs 5,700. The proposed MSP for moong is Rs 7,196 against Rs 7,050. The government has also increased MSP for chana from Rs 4,875 to Rs 5,100 and masur from Rs 4,800 to Rs 5,100. The sown area coverage-under Kharif pulses has increased by 32.33% to 81.65 lakh ha. It was 61.7 lakh ha last year.
Pulses are mainly produced in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh. In these states, good rains have helped increase production this year. The current Kharif season accounts for about 30% of whole pulses production in the country. Higher MSP for pulses and a smooth procurement drive has also encouraged farmers to grow more pulses this season.
Farmers have covered 30.84 lakh ha against 22.39 lakh ha under tur, 25.43 lakh ha against 17.77 lakh ha under urad, 20.98 lakh ha against 16.10 lakh ha under moong and 4.37 lakh ha against 5.39 lakh ha under other pulses. This is the right time for the Indian agricultural sector to identify pulses’ importance as the second-best alternative crop for production.
The government has set a target of 25.6 million tonnes of pulses production this year. This target is 11.2% more than the estimated output last year. However, from a nutritional and food security viewpoint, the target must be increased by 25%. This will also help the government address issues of undernourishment and malnourishment.
However, governments need to ensure that pulses are procured at MSP rates to buoy farmer confidence in these crops. For instance, the Gujarat government has announced the procurement of kharif pulses, such as moong and urad, amid other crops at the MSP rates. The procurement of moong and urad will take place between November 2 and January 30. The Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation will be the nodal agency for procurement in coordination with Nafed. The state government has set up 71 and 80 procurement centres for moong and urad, respectively.
With an early start of monsoon this year and expectations of better rains in August and September, there is hope that there will be bumper pulse production.
The government of India must now focus on improving the productivity of homegrown pulse production by providing more efficient infrastructure in terms of improved local mandi facilities and easy or accessible credit.
Dagar is visiting faculty at Amity University, Noida and Chhikara is PhD Scholar, department of commerce, University of Delhi