Senior officials of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation Ltd. (NAFED) have stated that the government will ensure that the market price of masur dall (lentils) which is a rubi season-based crop does not fall below the minimum support price (MSP) if necessary by undertaking procurement operations.
The primary goal of the Federation is to promote the cooperative marketing of agricultural products to the benefit of farmers and to obtain pulses when prices fall below MSP, the government will purchase lentils if prices fall below MSP, said Mr. SK Singh, NAFED’s additional director.
‘Last year, NAFED did not purchase lentils because prices were very high. This year, the federation is engaged in advanced talks with state governments. If farmers get MSP, it’s a matter of a year or two before we become self-sufficient in lentils,” Singh said in a webinar organized by the Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) on Saturday.
Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA)
According to the Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), the country has a stock of about 4.5 lakh tons of lentils, while the demand for new crops is about 6.0 lakh tons until February.
Apart from the urad and tur dall that were in short supply, masur is another pulse that often needs to be imported to bridge the gap. The Government lowered its import duty on lentils by 10% in June, and the tariff will remain unchanged until the end of December 2020.
However, traders have expressed their apprehension of the import duty which may be increased from the new year and have sought the government’s clarity on the matter. Traders expect 33percent import duty on lentils to be refunded from January, although no such decision has been taken so far.
‘Since the government has changed import policies on a bi-monthly basis, it is difficult for trade to make sound decisions. No one has reserved shipping dates for November, December, as there is a possibility of an increase in import duty from January,” said the pulse importer.
The ruby season was favorable for the sowing of masur dall and was harvested in a country that will be ready for harvest by February 2021. The Government has set a target of 1.6 million tons of lentils for the 2020-21 rabi season against the annual domestic demand of 1.9-2 million tonnes.
Good climate conditions
‘Thanks to consistent pace of optimum moisture condition and good reservoir levels, the rate of sowing is doubled when compared to the previous year where an areas of 3.7 lakh hectares already sown,’ said central agricultural commissioner SK Malhotra at the webinar.
Lentils are mostly eaten in the north and north-eastern parts of India. Thanks to Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana’s distribution of chana, large sections of the poorer population have moved from eating lentils to chana, helping to adjust the demand and supply gap for lentils.