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