G Chandrashekhar

Global pulses convention opens in Capetown amid weather risks

G Chandrashekhar Capetown (South Africa) May 4 | Updated on May 04, 2014

A variety of pulses grown world over on display at UN Conference on Biological Diversity ( CBD). (file photo)

A day ahead of the formal inauguration of World Pulses Convention 2014 organised by International Pulses Trade and Industry Confederation (IPTIC) here, the atmosphere is one of heightened expectancy among market participants in the context of ongoing dry conditions in some parts of the world (Brazil, Southeast Asia) and looming threat of El Nino.

Over 600 industry and trade participants from across 40 countries are assembled to discuss crop and price outlook for various pulses in 2014. In addition, an important item on the agenda is to discuss plans for International Year of Pulses 2016 declared by the United Nations. Members of IPTIC are planning a wide variety of activities in different parts of the world to raise awareness about pulses and how these nutritious legumes can help fight hunger and malnutrition. India will have a key role to play in the promotional campaign.

Interestingly, while world production of pulses is about 60 million tonnes, world trade is only about a fifth of production. Major exporters of pulses include Canada, USA, Australia and Myanmar. As for imports, South Asia is the most important region. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka together account for over 40 per cent of world trade. Indeed, it may not be an exaggeration to say that the world produces pulses with the South Asian market in mind. The value of pulses on the shelves is estimated at over $100 billion and growing.

India is uniquely placed in the world pulses map because of its top rank as the largest producer, importer and consumer of pulses. India produces about 19 million tonnes, imports about 3 million tonnes and therefore consumption is estimated at 22 million tonnes. The consumption potential is of course much larger. No wonder, the attention of supplier nations is focused on India; and developments here are keenly watched.

So, the hot topic of informal discussion here at the convention is how much pulses will India produce in the upcoming kharif season and by implication how much will India import. The India Meteorological Department recently forecast a below normal southwest monsoon during June-September months.

Published on May 04, 2014

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