The Modi Narendra Modi government’s cabinet on Tuesday approved import of tur dal from Mozambique on long term contract basis.
This came after a day after PTI reported that India was likely to import about 5 million tonnes of pulses during April-December period of this fiscal, largely by private traders, to boost domestic supply and cool retail prices that have reached up to Rs 200 per kg.
India, the world’s largest producer, had imported about 4.5 million tonne in the corresponding period of the previous year. The country had imported 5.78 million tonnes in the entire 2015-16 fiscal to meet domestic demand.
“Imports are happening. About 1.2-1.3 million tonnes of pulses have already been imported. Moreover, private traders have contracted for 3 million tonnes of pulses to be shipped between September and December,” India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) Chairman Pravin Dongre told PTI.
Asked about the landed cost of imported pulses, he said it is Rs 32-33 per kg for yellow peas, Rs 92-93 for tur dal, Rs 105-106 for urad, Rs 65 for masoor and Rs 58-60 for moong.
Importers are selling it to millers and whole-sellers at a very less margins, he said.
On overall imports for this fiscal, Dongre said it would depend on monsoon.
“If monsoon is good as projected, domestic production will increase. Then imports will be less in the last quarter of this fiscal,” IPGA Vice Chairman Bimal Kothari said.
IPGA said the pulses prices have gone up in domestic market due to fall in production on account of poor and unseasonal rains in two consecutive crop years.
Pulses production fell to 17.06 million tonnes in the 2015-16 crop year (July-June) from 17.15 million tonnes in the previous year. In 2013-14, output was over 19 million tonnes.
As a result, retail prices of pulses have shot up with Tur and urad dals selling at as high as Rs 180 per kg and Rs 198 per kg, respectively, in the retail markets.
Chana dal is being sold at Rs 105 per kg, while moong and masoor at Rs 130 and Rs 110 per kg respectively.
The government recently decided to enhance the buffer stock limit of pulses to 8 lakh tonnes for making market intervention when prices firm up in retail markets. It is also importing pulses to boost domestic supply.
So far, 1.19 lakh tonnes of pulses has been procured from farmers for creating buffer stock and 46,000 tonnes have been contracted for imports.
In 2014, while mounting his claim to become India’s prime minister, Modi had made attacked the then UPA government on rising prices. The video of his interview to ABP News has now gone viral in light of recent soaring prices of what’s essentially an integral part of poor man’s diet.