A delegation of dal millers and traders met central government officials recently with key demands of incentivising exports and curbing import of pulses.
“States such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat have procured tur, moong and urad. The state governments and the central government should export at least 2.5 million tonne pulses from their stocks so as to support farmer prices and create domestic demand for the pulses that will be produced in the current year,” said Suresh Agarwal, a dal miller.
Prices of most pulses have fallen much below the minimum support price (MSP) amid expectations of a second successive year of bumper production.
According to an “MSP alert” issued by a farmers’ organisation, Jai Kisan Andolan, farmers are getting 24-40 per cent less than the MSP for tur and red gram in the markets with highest arrivals. Avik Saha, national convener, Jai Kisan Andolan said, “Peak arrival of tur and red gram is from December to February. Prices always move up as arrivals slow down. But even in April, prices are much below MSP, which is indicative of a crashed market. The situation is very alarming.” To support domestic prices, the Centre had lifted a decade-old ban on export of pulses earlier this year. It also announced 7 per cent export incentive for Bengal gram (chana) last month under the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) for a period of three months till June 20. Earlier, it had increased import duty on Kabuli chana to 60 per cent. However, traders said that the country had lost its export markets due to the decade-long export ban.
“We are not getting response for export. A lot of mills have been set up in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Dubai and Africa, which have now taken over India’s traditional pulses export markets. This makes it necessary that the government give us incentives for exports,” said Agarwal.