The Telegraph
Friday , April 6 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Good crop to keep pulse prices stable

Calcutta, April 5: Prices of pulses in India will remain stable in the next few months because of a fairly good crop last year, according to the India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA).

“We had a good crop last year. Price volatility is usually because of short supply. We do not see any significant increase or fall in prices. There could be a marginal fall in chana production in Rajasthan by about 10 per cent. This is because of excessive rain in winter. Overall, production should be flat,” said Anurag Tulshan, executive committee member and co-ordinator (eastern and Northeastern region) of the IPGA.

Globally, pulse production is at around 60 million tonnes. Indian production stands at 17-18 million tonnes. A shortfall of about 3 million tonnes is met through imports. Production in this fiscal will depend on the monsoon.

“Our concern, however, is that the farmers are not induced enough to grow pulses and they would rather shift to production of vegetables. Demand for pulses, too, is not growing enough,” he said.

The IPGA has held discussions regularly with the government to distribute pulses through the public distribution system (PDS).

“If pulses are distributed through PDS, farmers will be assured of selling the entire crop to the government at a minimum support price. Discussions are on. At present, there is no government buying and farmers sell through mandis and private trade,” he said.

Price of pulses shot up in 2009-10 because of a sharp fall in production at about 14 million tonnes.

“There is a serious need to improve the handling of grains. The amount lost because of mishandling, about 20-30 per cent of the total production, could be enough to meet our shortfall. Bagging has to be scientific,” he said.