India's 2020-21 pulses import may fall by 50% if government doesn't extend import quotas, says IPGA
As Indian government struggles to support the domestic pulses farmers who are getting non-remunerative prices due to the second consecutive year of bumper production, trade body Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) has claimed that large scale smuggling of pulses from neighbouring countries is hurting the interests of domestic farmers and traders.by Jayashree Bhosale
Pune: As the Indian government struggles to deal with the surplus production of pulses, the country's import of the vegetarian protein is expected to fall by 50% to about 15 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 provided the government does not allocate any quota for import of pulses next.
As Indian government struggles to support the domestic pulses farmers who are getting non-remunerative prices due to the second consecutive year of bumper production, trade body Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) has claimed that large scale smuggling of pulses from neighbouring countries is hurting the interests of domestic farmers and traders.
India has put restrictions on the import of pulses allocating import quotas as the country has surplus production. However, some importers challenged the import restrictions at the High Courts of Chennai and the High Court of Jaipur getting a stay on the government's decision of import restrictions. Thus a handful of traders who could get the High Court's stay order could import pulses.
From April till November, India has imported 3,37 lakh tonnes of tur against quota of 5.75 lakh tonnes, 6.12 lakh tonnes of peas, though the quota announced but not allocated to traders was of 1.5 lakh tonnes, 2.45 lakh tonnes of chana, 67,000 tonnes of moong, 1.92 lakh tonnes of urad (black matpe) against quota of 4 lakh tonnes and 7 lakh tonnes of masur or lentils.
"The total import of India during 2019-20 are expected to be 30 lakh tonnes," said Bimal Kothari, vice president, IPGA.
"About 2.25 lakh tonnes of pulses have been estimated to be stuck at the ports as the central government has objected to the stay order obtained by the traders," said Jite Bheda, chairman, Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA). The High Court of Jaipur will next hear the case on March 6.
Next year, if the government decides to not allocate any import quota, then the trade estimates that the country's imports can fall down to about 12 lakh tonnes to 15 lakh tonnes. "We may import about 10 to 13 lakh tonnes of red lentils and other pulses which are not restricted for imports. The import of tur under the agreement with the Mozambique government will be 2 lakh tonnes," said Kothari.
Trade expects that the production of urad may fall by about 50% when the fresh crop is harvested in March. "Production of urad may fall to just about 7 lakh tonnes," said Kothari.