The UNFAO decided to label 2016 as the international year of pulses to spread awareness of the protein power and health benefits, enhance production and trade and lead to smarter uses through the supply chain. Pulses have also been identified as the most important food crops to ensure food security for an exponentially growing population. Given the growing importance of pulses in the global scheme of things, we round up the latest news about pulses in India:
India-Myanmar pulse trail – India once a top exporter of pulses in the world, has been increasingly dependent on imports to meet domestic demand. El-Nino induced drought and unseasonal rains have been identified as the main culprits. Shortage of pulses and soaring prices of the Indian favourite has compelled the government to seek viable alternatives. One of such was negotiating a deal with Myanmar. Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman paid an official visit to Myanmar to explore the possibilities of government-to-government import of pulses.
“Anticipating the requirements of pulses for this year, we have started negotiations with Myanmar so that we can get the pulses through the government agencies so that India will have enough stock of pulses,” she told reporters here.
“We shall ensure that enough pulses come to the country. I am glad to say that there is a positive engagement with Myanmar,” the minister added.
Unlike the previous year, the government is importing through the state-run MMTC to consolidate domestic supplies and keep a check on prices.
Government increase MSP for pulses – The government has been doing its best to encourage farmers to cultivate pulses as the domestic demand has outstripped supply leading to spiralling pulses prices. On Wednesday, the government released the new official MSP for kharif pulses and oilseeds and paddy. While there was a significant increase in MSP for pulses and oilseeds, for paddy it was nominal.
Tur or arhar saw an increase of Rs 425 a quintal, inclusive of a Rs 200. Moong and Urad saw an increase of Rs 375 per quintal each. MSP for tur is now Rs 5,050 a quintal, while for moong and urad, it is Rs 5,255 and Rs, 5,000 a quintal, respectively.
Coming to oilseeds, the MSP for groundnuts was increased by Rs 190 a quintal to Rs 4,220 a quintal. It is Rs 2,775 for a quintal of soyabean, with an increase of Rs. 175. For sunflower seed and niger seed the MSP is now Rs 3,950 and Rs 3,650 a quintal, with an increase of Rs 150 and Rs 175.
“The Food Corporation of India will be the designated central nodal agency for price support operations for cereals, pulses and oilseeds. The Cotton Corporation of India will be the central nodal agency for undertaking price support operations for cotton,” an official statement released after the Cabinet meeting said.