An Assocham study has indicated that facing a huge shortage of 10 million tonnes (MMT), pulses prices may shoot up further by as much as 10-15 per cent in the ensuing festival season and this would push prices of food items.
As deficit monsoon rains have affected the yield in several producing states, the country may have to import over 10 million tonnes (MMT) of pulses since the domestic production may be limited to 17 million tonnes against the rising demand of 27 million tonnes, according to the Assocham recent study on “Pulses import expected to rise”.
It said with festivals like Diwali round the corner, the demand for pulses would further shoot up and prices may be looking up , further by at least 10 -15 per cent . As it is, the pulses are selling at Rs 90-145/150 per kg with prices varying in different states, depending on the demand pattern.
The consumption of pulses and cereals increases because of increased demand for preparation of sweets and other delicacies going with different festivals, from Diwali right up to Christmas.
As per the study, India has a total annual demand of 27.1 million metric ton of pulses out of which it grows 17 million metric ton and imports the remaining 10.1 million ton to meet its domestic demand. With the lack of proper monsoons, there might be less production than usual. Import of the pulses from other countries could be extremely expensive this year as the grower countries already facing a shortage of supply have increased their selling rates, adds the study.
The major pulse crops grown in India are Gram and Tur. Gram, with a production of more than 7 million tonnes, contributes more than 41 percent in the total pulse production of the country. Tur, with a production of 2.7 million tonnes and a contribution of about 16 percent, is the second major pulse crop grown in India. Other leading pulse crops in India are Urad and Moong, adds the paper.
India is dependent mainly on Myanmar for Tur, Urad, Moong, Canada and U.S.A. for yellow peas, Australia, Canada and Myanmar for chana (desi chana/chickpeas), Canada, Australia and U.S.A. for lentils. Small quantities of various pulses are imported from other origins (viz. China, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, turkey etc.).
The demand for pulses will be driven by middle class population and growth of this section will be the force behind growing pulses demand in India. The growth in organized food retail is likely to influence demand for pulses, as this sector depends largely on middle class boom. Most of the projections for growth in organized retail chain are highly optimistic.
The major pulse-producing states -Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh which together account for about 70 percent of the country’s total kharif pulse production may witness less rainfall affecting the output and prices.
During 2013-14, pulses worth US $ 1.9 billion were imported. In the following year its import bill on account of pulses was US $ 2.6 billion showing an increase of 36.8 percent on year over year basis. In the April-Jun period of the current fiscal, the country has already imported pulses worth US $ 0.66 billion.