Even as tomato prices have started cooling, daal mein kuch kala hai (as the Hindi phrase goes) as tur prices may well shoot up further.

Mozambique, a major producer of tur in East Africa, is trying to take advantage of the scarce situation of the pulses availability in India by imposing a floor price on exports.

The new tur crop is set to be harvested in the coming days in Mozambique and India is looking forward to supplies from there as well as Malawi, Tanzania and Sudan to meet part of its growing demand, given the shortfall in domestic production. India’s tur consumption is estimated at around 45 lakh tonnes, while the domestic output last year was 34.3 lakh tonnes last year. More imports have made pulses expensive, fuelling food inflation, and now with Mozambique’s minimum price imposition they could get costlier.

Minimum export price

“We got the news yesterday that Mozambique has imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of $850-900 on tur FOB (free on board) basis for different quality. That means they are looking at the prevailing Indian prices and fixing the MEP, which is not fair on their part, because they are trying to take advantage of our situation,” said Bimal Kothari, Chairman, India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA).

The reasonable price of tur in Mozambique is $600-700 per tonne, Kothari said. The landed price of African tur in Mumbai is around ₹92 per kg.

India is looking to import over 7.5 lakh tonnes of tur in the upcoming harvest season from African producers, of which Mozambique is expected to ship over 5 lakh tonnes. Mozambique has overtaken Myanmar as the largest exporter of tur a few years ago. “We have urged the government to impress upon Mozambique to not initiate such steps in view of the current situation in India,” Kothari said.

Recently, the Indian High Commission in Maputo had told exporters in Mozambique that India would import tur and urad without any quantity restrictions till March 2024.

Tur prices up

Trade sources said tur prices in Mozambique, which hovered around $825 per tonne about a month ago, have now moved up to $950 levels. “Everyone knows that India needs tur and is trying to take advantage of the situation,” said Rahul Chauhan of IGrain India, adding that prices can go up further.

In Myanmar, tur prices for the lemon variety, which has better colour and taste over the African tur and suits the Indian palate, is at $1310 per tonne. The landed price of lemon tur in Chennai on Thursday was ₹10,600 per quintal, Chauhan said.