MUMBAI: In view of divergent estimates on crop produce, the India Pulses and Grains Association has decided to appoint a survey agency for kharif and rabi crop for accurate figures, a senior industry official said here.
“In view of difference between the government figures and trade figures over the pulses crop, we have decided to appoint crop survey agency for kharif and rabi crop to get more accurate crop estimate,” India Pulses and Grains Association Chairman Pravin Dongre told PTI on the sidelines of a Pulses Conclave 2014 held in Goa recently.
As per the government estimate, the country is expected to produce 19.8 million tonnes (MT) of pulses this year, which includes 9.8 MT of chana crop, while trade figures says only 6.5 MT of chana crop this year, Dongre said.
“The association is talking to several crop survey agencies to do a ground analysis which will help government and industry to get more accurate crop figures,” IPGA Vice Chairman Bimal Kothari said.
The chana production, which has 40 per cent crop in overall pulses production, shows 3 MT difference between government and trade figures. We do not know, which are the realistic figures, Kothari said.
Commenting on pulses imports, Dongre said, “It is expected to come down to 3 MT during 2013-14 from the 4 MT in previous year owing to good domestic harvest.”
Official figures show that India imported around 1.4 MT of pulses between April to September 2013 and “we expect another 1.5 MT of imports, Dongre said.
He said that government’s confusion over import duty on pulses has dissuaded traders from entering into long-term contracts. He said the industry players are demanding lifting of ban on exports.
The government had allowed exports of pulses in 2001 but banned shipments, except for kabuli chana (chickpea) in 2007 after a sharp increase in prices.
“We want the government to immediately lift the ban on exports of all kinds of pulses, which will give good price to farmers and stop prices from falling below the Minimum Support Price,” Dongre said.
The government should also consider selling pulses through the public distribution system (PDS) under the Food Security Act for fixed demand, he said.
“If the trend of prices ruling below the support level continues for another year, it may force farmers to shift to other crops such as rice, wheat or cotton,” Dongre said.
The UN has declared 2016 as the ‘International Year of Pulses’, a move that would raise the level of awareness globally on the role pulses can play in advancing health, nutrition, food security and environmental sustainability, Dongre said.