The country had procured a record 22.95 million tonnes of pulses in 2016-17 crop year due to good monsoon. Worried after two straight years of drought that shrunk the crop, India ran to build a buffer stock through domestic purchases and imports in its effort to control sky-rocketing prices of pulses that could harm the government politically and the population financially. It is now being forced to sell the stocks, some of which can get spoilt if not used. Moreover, plans for disposal of another 10 lakh tonnes through government agencies, open market sale and at subsidised rates to states have been planned. The government has also allowed export of Arhar and Urad. Although some quantity has been sold to traders through auction, the sale has not picked up. The food ministry is trying other means to clear the stock, and is in talks with welfare organisations and cooperatives to sell the stock. It signed up long-term deals with certain countries and put together stocks of 20 million tonnes of pulses, a move that is now coming back to bite as farmers are beginning to complain about lower prices. The buffer stock of pulses and the fall in the minimum support price have discouraged farmers as they have grown pulses in less area during the ongoing kharif season of the 2017-18 crop year. However, to ensure better prices for farmers, the government has recently lifted ban on export of tur, urad and and moong dals.
Krishi Jagran Delhi