ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Unending Woes of Pulse Farmers

Sustainable policies are needed to protect farmers and consumers against output and price fluctuations of pulses.

The current crash in pulse prices is on account of excess supply in the pulses market. This is the second year in a row that pulse prices have fallen and have not been remunerative for farmers. The situation in 2014–15, however, was very different. A scarcity in production had caused a spike in prices then, thereby adversely affecting affordability and the average intake of pulses. There have been increases in acreage since that have led to excess supply and drastic price reductions in 2018. The government has failed to frame a policy that addresses the fluctuations in pulse output and prices adequately.

In 2014–15, pulses output fell by 9.7% over the previous year. The shortages were caused by successive droughts as well as hoarding by traders. The risk of drought was high since an estimated 88% of the area under production was rain-fed. In 2015–16, the domestic production of pulses was 16.35 million tonnes (mt), while imports amounted to 5.79 mt. Only 21.89 tonnes were available for domestic consumption. During this period, the government intervened with a lag to stabilise the prices by deciding to increase procurement, allowing free imports (for tur, moong and urad dal), imposing export restrictions, and enforcing stockholding limits under the Essential Commodities Act. The government also set a procurement target of 20 lakh tonnes as buffer stocks to stabilise market prices. To provide incentives to farmers producing pulses, it hiked the minimum support price (MSP) for pulses in successive years.

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Updated On : 26th Jun, 2018

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