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Pulses Prices Soar Despite Imports

Despite the Union government importing pulses from Mozambique to lower the domestic prices. BW Businessworld explores what is driving the prices up

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The price of pulses have been increasing steadily. This despite the fact that the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has given third advance estimate that reported the

current year’s (Monsoon Year 2019-20) harvest to be higher at 1.44 million metric tons (MMT) compared to last year’s 1.23 MMT.

Ideally it should have brought the price of pulses down. But It didn't happen, says Yoginder K Alagh former Union Minister. "It feels that market forces drive the retail prices and government has to develop a transparent mechanism for the prices." Alagh is more specific to the imported pulses.

This time again on June 1, 2020, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) issued a trade notice announcing that 200,000 metric tons of pigeon peas and other pulses from Mozambique would be allowed for import in  fiscal year 2020-21 (April/March), outside of the quota restrictions previously announced on select of four pulses (peas, pigeon peas, black gram lentils and mung beans) in March 2020.

Many would blame market forces for better price realisation during lockdown. Political groups are blaming each other for the current situation but government's effort to cap APMC act may bring a better result in long run, believe agronomy experts.

International agencies like USDA feel that when most of the domestic lentil crops has already

marketed by farmers, the union government is not concerned that imported products would adversely impact farmers’ income. While the same agency had reported the market sources that the union government's future decision on import tariff levels for lentils will depend on

domestic prices relative to the MSP for the next crop season.

An end user and the producer is facing this tussle of marketing and price stability. This will certainly bring another challenge to current affairs in market. Will the pulses catch pulse of the government that is committed to doubling farmers income as of now?

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