Pulse para­dox

A record pro­duc­tion of pulses is in the off­ing. But nei­ther farm­ers nor con­sumers stand to ben­e­fit be­cause the govern­ment is with­draw­ing pro­cure­ment from farm­ers and flood­ing the mar­ket with im­ported pulses |


WHEN KEY pulses started hit­ting record prices since May last year, mil­lions of farm­ers across the coun­try be­gan to cul­ti­vate them an­tic­i­pat­ing high in­come. Anil Mandage, a small farmer from Pim­pri Gawli vil­lage, Ahmed­na­gar district, Ma­ha­rash­tra, is one of them. His 1.2 hectare (ha) farm helped him pro­duce one tonne of moong dal (green gram) this sea­son. Un­for­tu­nately, no trader could of­fer him a de­cent price—the whole­sale price of green gram has to­day dropped to be­low per tonne. It was per tonne when Mandage started sow­ing. When he turned to the govern­ment pro­cure­ment cen­tre, his pro­duce was re­jected on the grounds that it had a high mois­ture con­tent. “The Marath­wada re­gion re­ceived heavy rain­fall at the fag-end of this mon­soon sea­son,” says Mandage. Only 12.5 tonnes of moong was pro­cured from 7,000-odd farm­ers in seven vil­lages of the district.

Mandage’s story re­peats it­self across In­dia. For in­stance, in Harda district, Mad­hya Pradesh (MP), the mar­ket price dropped from per tonne in May this year to around in Oc­to­ber. Con­flicts are brew­ing across the coun­try as govern­ment pro­cure­ment cen­tres are re­ject­ing the bumper har­vest. The district’s farm­ers pro­duced over 39,600 tonnes of moong dal this year. “But only 110 tonnes was bought by the govern­ment pro­cure­ment cen­tre from over 106,000 farm­ers in the district dur­ing the past month—about 1 kg from each farmer. They make var­i­ous ex­cuses for not procur­ing. This is lead­ing to

A bumper har­vest has not brought down re­tail prices. Con­sumers are still buy­ing moong dal for per kg and tur dal for per kg

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