Production of pulses has almost halved in Madhya Pradesh over the last few years, if the figures provided in the Lok Sabha, are any indication.

The production has come down from 81.11 lakh tonnes (lt) in 2017-18 to 43.64 lt in 2020-21 (as per third advance estimates) in Madhya Pradesh. It stood at 60.45 lt and 41.08 lt in 2018-19 and 2019-20, respectively.

However, other major states such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat showed an increase in the production of pulses during the period between 2016-17 and 2020-21.

The production of pulses increased from 37.68 lt in 2016-17 to 42.24 lt during 2020-21 in Maharashtra, and from 31.81 lt in 2016-17 to 48.21 lt during 2020-21 in Rajasthan.

In Karnataka, pulses production went up from 17.37 lt in 2016-17 to 21.7 lt in 2020-21. The production of pulses doubled in Gujarat from 8.17 lt in 2016-17 to 17.59 lt in 2020-21.

Replying to a query in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, said the production of pulses has been increasing during the last three year -- from 2018-19 to 2020-21. The production went up from 220.75 lt in 2018-19 to 255.75 lt in 2020-21.

To increase the production of pulses the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) - Pulses programme is being implemented in 644 districts of 28 states and Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Under NFSM (pulses) programme, the Government provides support for breeder seed production of pulses, and 150 seed hubs have been created at ICAR institutes, state agriculture universities and krishi vigyan kendras for increasing certified seeds production of pulses.

A new scheme ‘Intercropping of pulses with sugarcane’ was implemented in Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand during 2018-19 and 2019- 20, he said.

Apart from this, special action plan was implemented during 2019-20 for increasing pulses productivity, and rice fallow areas were targeted in 11 states under NFSM.

In order to protect the consumer from price rise, the Government is implementing Price Stabilization Fund to help moderate the volatility in prices of pulses by releasing stock from the buffer.

Chilli variety

To another query on whether ‘Armour chilli’ seeds have high yield and disease resistance capability compared to other varieties of chilli seeds, Tomar said Amour chilli is a high yielding chilli F1 hybrid with tolerance to leaf curl virus (LCV). Armour chilli is the name given to an F1 hybrid chilli developed by a private company registered in Telangana State.

Armour is preferred for pungency and fruit drying quality. It is early maturing, has good yield potential and high disease tolerance against LCV. Fruits are large, straight, green on fresh and attractive red at ripe maturity.

However, he said, the Bengaluru-basd Indian Institute of Horticulture Research identified a new chilli F1 hybrid ‘Arka Tejasvi’ (H41) for release during 2020. The hybrid has performed consistently at par with ‘Armour chilli’ for yield, fruit quality and tolerance to LCV for two years when evaluated at the institute. Large scale seed production of ‘Arka Tejasvi’ has been taken up this year for distribution to KVKs and institutes to study ‘Arka Tejasvi’ performance across the country.

FCI stock

To a separate query on the total quantity of food stocks stored by Food Corporation of India (FCI), Niranjan Jyoti, Minister of State for Rural Development, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, said the total stock of food grains in the Central pool was 900.45 lt as on July 1. This included 603.56 lt of wheat and 296.89 lt of rice.

To another query on Government’s plan to bridge the gap between domestic consumption and production of edible oils, Niranjan Jyoti said the domestic edible oil production has not been able to keep pace with the growth in consumption which is around 25 million tonnes.

The Government has been implementing the Centrally sponsored scheme – NFSM (Oilseeds and Oil Palm) to augment the availability of edible oils and to reduce its imports by increasing the production and productivity of oilseeds sources from nine oilseeds (groundnut, soyabean, rapeseed and mustard, sunflower, safflower, sesame, niger, linseed and castor), oil palm and tree borne oilseeds in the country, the Minister said.