0.8 mln ha
pulses stagnated at 12-14 million tonnes.The per capita availability of pulses reduced from 61 g to 37 g in the past 60 years.
The scenario has improved a little in the past few years.The production of pulses has risen from 14.5 million tonnes in 2008-09 to 19.25 in 2013-14, primarily due to the government’s efforts to strengthen seed production and distribution,and the continuous increase of minimum support price. But this spurt in pulse production is not enough to meet the demand as the import of pulses has also seen a rise. In 2014-15, India imported 4.58 million tonnes of pulses, against 3.18 million tonnes imported in 2013-14.
The reason behind the decline in pulses production in the northern states is improved irrigation facilities,which allowed these states to grow water-intensive crops, such as rice and wheat. These crops also give assured returns because they are procured by the government.Southern states,which were mostly rain-fed and where irrigation facilities are not good, started growing pulses. Development of heat-tolerant varieties,such as JG11 (a chickpea variety), also helped. “JG-11 had changed the landscape of pulses production in south India,” says A Arvind Reddy,principal scientist,Indian Agricultural Research Institute (iari).Another reason behind this shift from north to south was a pest.