Maintaining that there’s no concern on the availability of chana, the government has warned the pulses trade of tough action if there’s any undue or unreasonable price rise in tur and urad in the days ahead.

Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, said there is no issue on the availability of chana if we consider the production and buffer stocks. Some sections are trying to portray that there’s going to be shortage of chana, which is wrong, he said.

“Don’t be under the impression that there will be a chana shortage. There is enough chana produced and enough buffer stock available. There is no reason for concern on the chana front,” Singh told a webinar organised by the India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) on the outlook for rabi pulses for the 2023-24 season.

Rabi season accounts for about 65 per cent of the pulses output, largely driven by chana. In the past five years, the average seeding during rabi is 160 lakh hectares (lh) of which chana area was around 105 lh. “This year also the seeding is same as the five-year average,” he said.

Good availaibility

Chana has been planted in 104.74 lh this year, higher than the normal area of 100.92 lh, but lower than last year’s 110.71 lh. Masur has been sown in 19.6 lh, an increase of around 13-14 per cent. Masur production is around 13-14 lakh tonnes (lt), while consumption is 20-22 lt. “This year our masur production is higher and also there is good availability in the international market in Australia, Canada and other producing regions,” Singh said adding that there was no concern on the masur front.

In case of urad there has been a dip in the acreage of 10-11 per cent and the gap in demand-supply is about 7.5-7.8 lt. The urad crop in Myanmar is good at over 8.5 lt. “All our imports are from Myanmar. While it is good on one hand, there is concern on the other. To mitigate the risks, we are in talks with Brazil and other producing countries” he said. Imports from Brazil have been to the tune of 3,000 tonnes.

Singh further said that India faces issues with Myanmar in case of tur also. “If this speculation continues, and if the prices of tur rise for undue reasons, we may have to take tough decisions over the next 2-4 days like we may make it compulsory that only the government imports.” Singh warned.

“We have been observing the prices in the past 15 days. I warn you that if speculation continues in tur and urad, which is undue and unnecessary and which has no relationship to the demand and supply, we are going to be very tough,” Singh said.

The government has been purchasing tur from the market above MSP. “Already we have purchased some 300 tonnes,” he said. Further, the government is trying to come up with the estimates on the pulses demand-supply, Singh said, adding that the scope for technology and innovation is very high in pulses.