Contrary to the initial expectations, the acreage under pulses is set to increase with the progress of the monsoon across the country. This is even as a section of stakeholders are optimistic about the prospects for pulses in view of a higher minimum support price (MSP) for the crops motivating farmers.

As of July 1, the overall acreage under pulses has registered a 7 per cent increase at 28.06 lakh hectares (lh) against 26.23 lh a year ago. This growth was led by a 32 per cent increased area under moong, while the other major kharif pulses - tur and urad are yet to catch up. The area under tur is trailing by 14 per), while that of urad is lower by 9 per cent. Interestingly, the area under other pulses has increased by 72 per cent to 3.18 lh (1.85 lh).

Weather favourable

At the Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) webinar, S K Malhotra, Project Director, Directorate of Knowledge Management in Agriculture, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, said the weather indications are good and favourable conditions were expected for the planting of pulses.

Malhotra said the sowing window for pulses is available for a full month of July and that the introduction of new high-yielding varieties in urad, increased seed availability of moong and enhancement of MSP will motivate the farmers to plant more.

He said the buffer stocks limit for moong has been prescribed at one lakh tonnes, urad at four lakh tonnes and tur at 10 lakh tonnes for the year.

Deepak Pareek, CEO, Agriwatch, said the improvement in demand is expected to support the prices of tur in the short term. In the case of urad, depleting stocks, declining volume of imports, lower summer crop and negligible stocks with the government will support prices. Also, the market expectation of area shift from urad to other crops like paddy, corn and cotton is seen supporting the prices.

Optimistic note

Striking an optimistic note on kharif prospects for urad, B Krishnamurthy, MD of 4P International, said the projection of an above-normal monsoon during September could be a concern. Urad harvest was impacted by the September rains last year. Krishnamurthy said current prices of urad, which have moved up by ₹10 a kg in the recent past, will be attractive for farmers, while they won’t be unusually costly for the consumers.

IPGA Chairman, Bimal Kothari, said the kharif pulses account for 35-40 per cent of the total pulses production in the country and the monsoon will have a major role in the sowing of kharif pulses. “Even though the monsoon has been delayed, we hope that we will now witness a more active monsoon that will help with increased sowing and production, which will eventually maintain price stability and ensure lesser dependence on imports,” Kothari said.

Avinash Bhala, CEO, GHB Group in Akola, said the shortfall in tur sowing in June resulted in a decline in production. If the monsoon deficit continues over the next 15 days, then sowing will get affected and will have a negative impact on sowing by around 25 per cent. If monsoon comes properly from now onwards, we still expect there to be a shortfall of 7-10 per cent, he said.