Tur (pigeon pea/red gram) prices declined by 10-15 per cent over the past month to around the minimum support price (MSP) level of ₹6,600 a quintal, ahead of the start of the harvest season. This has triggered a demand from growers for an early start to the procurement of the pulses. Besides, an increase in the availability of imported tur from East African countries and Myanmar at a lower price is weighing on the prices of domestic prices.

According to data from Agmarknet, a unit of the Agriculture Ministry, the modal price (the rate at which most trades take place) in the Gulbarga market has now declined to ₹6,800 levels from ₹7,800-7,900 in early November. With the new crop set to hit markets over the next fortnight, growers fear that prices will likely come under further pressure.

High moisture content

The tur crop in Karnataka, a large producer, has been delayed this year by 2-4 weeks. This is mainly due to excess rains impacting the early sown crop during June-July, forcing a section of farmers to take up replanting in several areas, said Basavaraj Ingin, President of Karnataka Pradesh Red Gram Growers Association, in Gulbarga. “We have demanded that the public procurement be started early in the harvest season this year,” he said.

Market arrivals of the new crop have started in some parts of Karnataka and Maharashtra, the two major tur producers. However, the moisture content is high in the new crop that’s arriving in the markets, said Rahul Chauhan of IGrain India. Prices of the new tur crop in Maharashtra in places such as Solapur are hovering around ₹6,800-7,111, while in Dudhni it is lower at ₹6,300-6,800. In Karnataka, the new crop in Gulbarga is ₹7,250, he said.

As per the Agriculture Ministry’s first advance estimates, kharif tur production this year has been estimated at 3.89 million tonnes (mt) against 4.34 mt a year ago. However, the trade expects the overall output to be lower than the initial estimates. “Tur production is expected to be 3.5 mt,” Chauhan said.

“The crop is lower in Karnataka this year, mainly due to the impact of excess rains. While the growers faced excess rains in the initial part of the cropping season, now they are faced with the wilt disease that has resulted in drying up of the crop in affected fields in parts of Kalaburgi,” said Santosh Langar, a miller in Kalaburgi. “Considering the lower crop size, prices should be firm, but they are seen coming down over the past one month which could be due to the increase in availability of imported tur,” he said.