The new chana crop has hit the mandis in Karnataka and Maharashtra and prices will likely rule firm above the minimum support price (MSP) levels. The chana acreage was down this rabi season at 102.90 lakh hectares (lh) compared with 109.73 lh on a decline in the area in sowing in Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat. However, large producing States of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have witnessed an increase in the area, per the latest data from the Agriculture Ministry. The dip in area and erratic rains are likely to impact production, which may be lower than last year, trade sources said.

Bimal Kothari, Chairman, India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), said it was too early to quantify the crop size and a clearer picture will emerge over the next fortnight. “Recently there has been some rains in parts of North India and the cold wave should help the crop in the region,” he said.

Crop conditions good

The new chana crop’s modal price. the rate at which most trades is in the range of ₹5,700-6,200 a quintal across mandis in Karnataka and Maharashtra. The MSP for chana for the 2024-25 rabi marketing season is ₹5,440.

Kothari said chana prices are likely to rule at the current levels as the Government has allowed imports of yellow peas at zero import duty till March 31, 2024, which would help check any rise in prices.

Suresh Agrawal, President, All India Dal Mills Association in Indore, said the crop conditions look good in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, but weather over the next few weeks holds the key. Arrivals should start in Madhya Pradesh by February-end, he said, adding that overall the crop could down by 2-5 per cent.

Rahul Chauhan of Igrain India said the outlook for chana depends on how much quantity the government agencies will procure this year. “There have been some concerns on the crop yields in Karnataka and Maharashtra due to poor soil moisture levels on erratic rains. Overall, the production of chana is likely to be less than last year due to the decline in acreage. The crop condition looks good in MP, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Prices are likely to stay firm above the MSP levels,” Chauhan said.