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Prices of yellow peas touch 100/kg on firm demand, supply decreases

Prity Barman
Prity Barman
Col File yellow peas
Yellow peas

Because of the firm demand and dwindling supply, retail prices of yellow peas have risen to a record Rs 100 per kg. This occurred as wholesale prices went up to 15-20 percent in two months and quadrupled to about Rs 80 per kg in two years after India banned imports of the commodity. 

The consumption of yellow peas has traditionally been limited to Bihar and West Bengal, while cultivation takes place in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. 

It's an irreplaceable part of street food,  like puchkas and chaat. 'Heading back to business are the street food vendors from Delhi to West Bengal, who use a very large amount of matar. Although Chana prices are lower than yellow pea prices, it is not possible to replace the former with the latter, keeping the demand for yellow peas strong,' said Mohit Upadhyay, HMV Agro's managing partner. 

Yellow peas are also used to make curries in Bihar and West Bengal, and are eaten as matar kulcha. 

However, as cheaper imported yellow peas from Canada, the US and other countries became increasingly available in the country after 2005-06, besan producers were partially replaced by costly chana flour producers (chick pea). Yellow pea imports reached a record of 3 million tonnes in 2016-17 thanks to the rapidly growing snacks and namkeen industry, which uses chana flour for sev, farsan and other savoury products. 

After India's ban on imports, a lot of yellow peas continued to come illegally from Nepal to the region. When Nepal too banned import, prices in India shot up. In 2020 yellow pea prices remained higher than chana prices throughout the year for the first time. India consumes nearly 1.5 million tons of yellow peas annually and grows just 500,000-600,000 tons each year. 

Strong market rates and government support also helped to raise the farmland of chana, making the country almost self-sufficient in chana. 

Currently, the wholesale price of yellow peas is about Rs 77-83 per kg in Mumbai. Most of the besan manufacturers have started making besan only from chana as it is not feasible to mix matar in it, said Nitin Kalantry Latur-based pulses processor. 

Local yellow pea production is expected to increase this year as farmers are encouraged by good prices. ‘Wholesale prices can cool down by about Rs 25 per kg after we get the new harvest around February-March,’ said Kalantry. 

Despite the import ban, up to December 2019, about 2 million tonnes of yellow peas entered India as traders obtained stays on the import order through different high courts. Because of the ongoing litigation between the government and the traders, about 200,000 tonnes of yellow peas are still lying at the ports. As China has been buying huge quantities of yellow peas for feed and processing, Canada, the largest source of imports, has not suffered any market losses. 

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