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How India is building self-reliance in pulses


The Union government is putting together a scheme to boost domestic production of pulses with an emphasis on select states, at a time when unsettled weather and more valuable crops have prompted many farmers to shift away from the kitchen staple.

Bharat Dal Utpadan Swavlamban Abhiyan, or India’s mission for self-sufficiency in pulse production, will aim to raise production, meet buffer norms and end import dependency, a government official familiar with the plan said . Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Europe, Telangana and Karnataka will be mainly targeted in the scheme, which will be held by the fall in production and increasing imports of pulses.

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The government has decided to appoint the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed) as the lead implementing agency for the scheme, the official quoted above said on condition of anonymity. The agency may pre-register farmers to buy their entire produce, in an effort to raise tarrow output by 1.2 million tonnes (mt) and sorghum output by 500,000 tonnes. Currently, the buffer requirement for tur is 1 mt and for masur is 500,000 tonnes; The government aims to achieve buffer stocks of 800,000 tonnes of tur and 400,000 tonnes of masur once the scheme is established, the official said.

“The government believes that pulse growers are fully capable of replicating the yield reported in 2016-17 for tur and further increasing masur production, since they are adequately supported to purchase crops at the MSP ( minimum support price) or market rate, whichever is higher, and assured risk mitigation in case of crop damages due to weather conditions through the Fasal Bima Yojana. Support for supply of quality inputs, including high-yielding seeds, credit and local purchase through key agricultural societies and storage at Gramin Bhandaran points will certainly encourage farmers to improve production,” the official said.

The new scheme to be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture will integrate elements of the existing Price Support Scheme (PSS) and the Price Stabilization Fund (PSF). Currently, under the PSS, the Ministry of Agriculture supplies crops at BSP to support farmers when prices fall, but under the PSF, the Department of Consumer Affairs buys pulses and vegetables at the BSP or market price for buffer stocks for further use recent in market interventions.

The official also said that funds available with the PSS and the PSF will be used to make payments to farmers and cover procurement and storage costs. The stocks required for buffers will be reserved and released separately as per the instructions of the Department of Consumer Affairs, and the fund requirement may be around 5,600 crore to get 800,000 tonnes for MSP of it 7,000 crore per province and 2,400 crore for 400,000 tonnes of masur at 6,000 the fifth MSP. The procurement costs could be in addition to that, however, the official said.

According to data from the agriculture ministry, India produced 3.3 mt of tur and 1.5 mt of masur in the last season that ended in June, compared to 4.2 mt and 1.3 mt of the previous year, respectively. However, domestic demand for tur and masur stands at 4.4 mt and 2.4 mt, respectively. Next year could be worse: In the first forecast for crop year 2023-24, total kharif production is lower at 7.1 mt compared to the previous year’s 7.8 mt due to conditions unfavorable climates and farmers switching to such crops. such as cotton and soybean, which are more rewarding and have shorter gestation periods.

Falling output and rising imports of pulses are threatening food security and threatening farmers’ livelihoods in the context of climate change, said Devan Chandrasekharan, managing director of Fuselage Innovations, an agritech company. “Addressing climate change as a whole may be an insurmountable task, but implementing targeted interventions could pave the way for solutions. While traditional soil-based farming methods have been effective, the incorporation of technology-supported agricultural practices such as soil- and foliar-based crop monitoring, along with targeted crop protection, may provide solutions to mitigate the impact of post- naturally soften,” said Chandrasekharan.

India imported 2.26 mt of lentils, tur and urad during January-October compared to 1.4 mt the previous year. While lentil imports were the highest among all pulses at 1.1 mt, turad and urad imports were at 686,073 tonnes and 453,529 tonnes, respectively. Despite some improvements since 2011, the gap between demand and supply of pulses has widened, necessitating annual imports of 2-2.5 mt in recent years.

Inquiries sent to the agriculture ministry and the consumer department went unanswered.

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