August rains put question mark on bumper crop of pulses

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas
| Pune |

September 17, 2020 11:01:35 am

pulses, pulses rates, Maharashtra pulses rates, Pune pulses rates, Pune news, city news, Indian ExpressAfter Maharashtra, Karnataka, especially its northern part, is a major hub of tur cultivation. (Representational)

Wholesale prices of almost all pulses have appreciated amid reports of crop damage due to heavy August rains, which has also made the initial forecast of a bumper crop of pulses look increasingly uncertain. After moong and urad, prices of tur have also firmed up as market sources report crop damage in north of Karnataka.

On Tuesday, traders at Latur’s wholesale market in Maharashtra talked about a Rs 600 per quintal rise in the average traded price of pulses. Trading at Rs 6,500 per quintal, tur is well above its government minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 6,000.

Nitin Kalantri, a Latur-based dal miller, said, “Prices of tur dal have touched Rs 90 per kg in Latur and crossed the Rs 100 mark in cities like Pune and Mumbai.”

After Maharashtra, Karnataka, especially its northern part, is a major hub of tur cultivation.

While the crop is yet to arrive in the market, delay in issuing import licences by the central government has also pushed up prices, traders said. India allows import of 4 lakh tonnes (lt) of the pulse with the government normally allowing processors to complete imports before the arrival of the domestic crop. “This year, import licences were not issued so prices have firmed up. While demand for the dal remains low, prices have risen in anticipation of a reduced crop,” Kalantri said.

The average traded price of tur across the wholesale markets for September is Rs 5,831.26 per quintal as compared to Rs 5,283.37 in August. Traders said tur would trade near its MSP once harvest starts.

This year, farmers have grown pulses over 137.81 lakh hectares as compared to 131.76 lakh hectares last year.

Reports of damage to the standing urad and moong crop have also come in from Madhya Pradesh. Both moong and urad are short duration crops with farmers expected to start harvesting them this month. Dal millers from Madhya Pradesh have spoken about a 10-15 per cent damage to the standing crop due to the August rains. Against the 4 lt quota of allowed imports, millers have imported at least 1 lt with the central government failing to renew import licences when they lapsed in August. At the national level, urad is trading at Rs 5,833.29 per quintal as compared to its MSP of Rs 6,000.

The fate of moong, another major kharif pulse, is no different as reports of extensive damage to the crop have come in from various parts of the country. Like tur, the import quota for moong is yet to be released while its harvest season has started. Quality concerns seem to be higher in moong than urad, which has fetched farmers higher than MSP (Rs 7,196 per quintal) for quality produce. At the national level, the pulse is trading at an average price of Rs 8,403.43 per quintal.

As rains continue to batter parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, further downward revision in production is not ruled out, sources said.

All eyes, however, are on the government’s next move with trade sources wary of an onion like kneejerk reaction to control prices. “Like in onion, where it banned exports, the government can take steps to cool down prices. But prices will remain bullish for some time at least,” said another Latur-based trader.

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