Agri Business

Area under pulses likely to come down

Suresh P. Iyengar | Updated on September 09, 2013

pulses

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Last year, urad at Ulundurpettai agricultural produce marketing committee yard in Tamil Nadu's Villupuram district was ruling at nearly Rs 5,000 a quintal. Now, it costs Rs 4,250.

Similar is the case with other pulses such as tur and moong.

“In the last one month, prices of urad have dropped Rs 1,000 a quintal,” says Mr B. Krishnamurthy, Secretary, Tamil Nadu Pulses Importers Association.

“If the open market prices for pulses such as urad continue to drop, then farmers may be forced to switch over to other crops such as cotton or oilseeds,” he says.

The Centre has announced a higher minimum support price (See Table) for kharif pulses. But open market prices have always ruled far higher than MSP in the last few years.

Initial trends point to drop in area under pulses. Last year, the area under pulses had increased mainly on higher open market price. It, in fact, led to sharp drop in global prices.

With the commencement of the south-west monsoon, sowing of kharif pulses has begun. According to latest data from the Agriculture Ministry, coverage of pulses is down 8 per cent to 3.77 lakh hectares (lh) compared with 4.09 lh during the corresponding period a year ago.

In Andhra Pradesh, area under tur is down 30 per cent at 4,958 hectares, while that of moong has slid 31 per cent to 8,259 hectares. Coverage of urad, however, is up 24 per cent at 974 hectares.

In Karnataka, pulses coverage is around 2.22 lh. Tur coverage is 0.43 lh (target 8.60 lh), horsegram 0.01 lh (1.11 lh), urad 0.22 lh (1.25 lh), greengram 1.14 lh (3.80 lh), cowpea 0.39 lh (0.90 lh), avare 0.02 lh (0.98 lh ) and mothbean 0.04 lh (0.04 lh).

“The Government had announced that 60,000 villages will be brought under pulses cultivation this year. This could have some positive effect in production,” said Mr Krishnamurthy.

According to senior officials of the Karnataka Agriculture Department, there has been shift in some crops compared with last year. Drip irrigation is being encouraged for transplanted tur to improve its output. In fact, shortage of cottonseeds in Karnataka has forced farmers to switch over to pulses.

Cultivation costs could rise if rain plays truant. Ms Smita Sinha, Head-Advisory Desk, Karvy Comtrade, said though the pulses output projection has been good, the outcome may vary depending on the monsoon's progress. Mr Suresh Agarwal, Vice-President, Pulses Importers Association, said there is a disparity with the domestic prices being quoted lower than the international prices.

“Pulses such as urad, tur and moong are not imported at present as there are enough inventories in the country,” he said

(Anil Urs from Bangalore and M.R. Subramani from Chennai contributed to this story.)

Published on June 26, 2011

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