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As tur acreage rises, farmers push for curbs on imports

As tur acreage rises, farmers push for curbs on imports

AUGUST 7 2018

 

As a larger area comes under tur or arhar (red gram) in the ongoing kharif sowing season, growers — in anticipation of a higher output — want the Centre to curb all forms of imports to keep prices stable during the harvest season.

 

The acreage under tur as on August 3 has exceeded the year-ago period’s levels as farmers have brought a larger area in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, among others, under cultivation.

 

The acreage has been marginally lower in Maharashtra and Gujarat, where erratic rainfall patterns had impacted planting.

 

While the acreage under tur and moong has seen a rise, the area under all pulses has been trailing the year-ago figure by around four per cent at around 75 lakh hectares. Tur accounts for over half the acreage under pulses.

 

Prices remain bearish

 

Across major markets in the key producing States of Karnataka and Maharashtra, tur prices are hovering between 3,500 and 3,800 a quintal, much lower than the minimum support price (MSP), on ample supplies.

 

On Tuesday, the modal price of tur in Gulbarga stood at 3,843 per quintal, while in Akola, it was 3,685 a quintal. Similarly in Amaravati, the modal price stood at 3,683. These markets reported arrivals of over 200 tonnes each on Tuesday.

 

The Centre has announced an MSP of 5,675 a quintal for the 2018 kharif marketing season, while the support price, including the bonus, stood at 5,450 for the previous year.

 

“As prices remain bearish during the peak sowing season, we want the government to curb further imports of all sorts of pulses as any further inflow would continue to weigh on prices,” said Basavaraj Ingin, President of the Karnataka Pradesh Red Gram Growers Association.

 

“In Karnataka, the area under tur is higher this year and we are expecting a good harvest, provided the rains are normal in August,” Ingin said.

 

Imports, procurement

While the government had committed to import pulses from African nations when domestic supplies were down, there’s a need to review the situation now, he said.

 

“In a bid to come out of this peculiar situation and protect our farmers’ interest, we feel that instead of importing pulses, the government could possibly look at compensating those countries with whom we have the commitment in some other way,” Ingin said.

 

The pulses growers have sought the Prime Minister’s intervention in this regard. The Centre has already hiked the duty on pulses such as yellow peas, chana and masur, which has made the imports unviable, trade sources said.

 

 

Pasha Patel, Chairman, Maharashtra Agriculture Prices Commission, said the increase in MSP and higher procurement by the government agencies in 2017-18 have prompted farmers to plant more tur. The government should look at curbing further imports, he added.

 

The Centre had aggressively procured pulses in the 2017-18 marketing season and the current tur stocks with Nafed are around 5.4 lakh tonnes.

 

“There is a talk of supplying the pulses through the public distribution system and the Centre’s decision in that regard could help reduce the stocks,” Patel said.

 

Supplies rise

However, the trade attributes the prevailing bearish trend in pulses to the higher supplies in the market on account of offloading by government agencies such as Nafed, FCI and SFAC, among others.

 

“When these agencies are selling thousands of tonnes of pulses through auctions regularly, one cannot expect the market to improve,” said Bimal Kothari, Vice-Chairman, Indian Pulses and Grains Association.

 

Kothari expects imports during the current financial year to be drastically lower, by around 80 per cent, over the previous year. “As against around 56 lakh tonnes imported in 2017-18, we expect the imports to be around 10-12 lakh tonnes,” Kothari added.

 

India’s pulses production is around 24.51 million tonnes for 2017-18, as per the third advanced estimates released in May, which is higher than the 23.13 million tonnes produced in the previous year.

 

Production of tur during the year was pegged at 4.18 million tonnes, down from 4.87 million tonnes in the previous year.

 

Source:https://www.thehindubusinessline.com

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