Agri Business

Gates open for urad import: Why this move when harvest is on?

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on October 02, 2020 Published on October 02, 2020

Urad prices have gone up sharply over the past two months   -  P_V_SIVAKUMAR

The government on Thursday showed a green flag for import of 1.5 lakh tonnes of urad (black gram) till March 31, 2021.

In a public notice issued on October 1, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) stated that the 1.5 lakh tonnes of urad shall be distributed equally, or for the quantity applied, whichever is lower, amongst eligible and verified applicants who were allotted quota for import of urad in June, 2020. The applicants will have to ensure that the import consignments of urad reach the Indian ports on or before March 31, 2021.

The pulse processing industry has welcomed the development as it will bring down market prices and benefit consumers. Commenting on the DGFT decision, Bimal Kothari, Vice-Chairman, IPGA, said that the import will not harm farmers. “It will cool down prices to a certain extent but will not materially impact prices for farmers.” The estimated domestic market output in urad (in Kharif season) about is 21.5 lakh tonnes. Against this, the import of 1.5 lakh tonnes is not a large enough quantity to bring down prices below MSP, said Kothari.

For kharif 2020-21, the minimum support price for urad is ₹6,000 per quintal. However, the spot price of urad on October 1 at Gondal market in Gujarat was ₹6,605 per quintal.

Prices have gone up sharply over the past two months (rising from ₹5,855 a quintal in the first week of August) due to reports of destruction of standing crops following rains in key producing areas.

Speaking to BusinessLine, ZL Bheda, Chairman of IPGA and Director, Bheda Brothers, said, “As against the government’s 21.5 lakh tonnes estimated production, the market estimates urad output of the season at about 12-14 lakh tonnes. This is the reason why prices sky-rocketed…”

The stock of urad will be entirely coming from Myanmar, as it is the only country that produces urad.

Interestingly, price of Myanmar urad has gone up in a day by about $100 per tonne following the news from the DGFT. Myanmar traders were asking for a price of $900 per tonne for their urad on October 2 (Friday); up from their ask price of $800 per tonne on October 1.

At $900 per tonne, the imported urad price works out to almost the same level of price in the domestic market prices at around ₹6,600 per quintal, said pulse traders who spoke to BusinessLine.

“We are not buying Myanmar urad. We expect domestic prices to fall amid higher arrivals in the next few weeks as harvests finish and arrivals start,” said a urad trader requesting anonymity.

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Published on October 02, 2020
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