Even as the government has been working to achieve self-sufficiency in pulses by 2027, it does not want to get dependent on a single country for the import requirements, nor does it want to be dictated on price fronts by any cartel. Sending out a warning to importers and exporters of Myanmar against any unreasonable price hike, Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said that the government is working with Brazil and Argentina to augment pulses imports, particularly of urad (black gram).

Speaking at Pulses 24, a three-day global conference organised by the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) in collaboration with Nafed, Singh said the government is working with Brazil and Argentina to avoid dependence on a single supplier country.

India had imported about 3.1 million tonnes (mt) of pulses in CY 2023 of which nearly 50 per cent were masur (lentils), 0.88 mt tur (pigeon peas) and 0.60 mt was urad, which was largely from Myanmar.

Taking advantage

He also expressed concerns that suppliers from Myanmar and East African countries are trying to take advantage of the situation. “So I want to suitably warn them also. Please do not take us for granted. We have mechanisms to control this. As long as you are making reasonable profits, we are with you. But if you want to game the system or take undue advantage, we will go after you,” said Singh.

The secretary further said that India produces about 28 mt of pulses, but also consume the similar quantity. “But due to the composition of production and consumption, there is a slight mismatch. The gap occurs due to higher consumption of masur, tur and urad,” he said.

“We have faced challenging times in the last two years due to weather disturbances, supply chain disruptions and geopolitical tensions in different parts of the world. Despite these challenges our efforts have been to ensure that consumers are getting pulses at the right price. This has led us to launch Bharat brand for wheat flour, rice and dal. This is the first time the government is intervening in retail as so far our intervention had been only in wholesale market,” he added.

Singh highlighted that the government has consistent trade policies for pulses imports to provide stability for farmers in markets that are producing for India.