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Government follows incentive strategy to boost production of pulses
Our Bureau
Date of posting: 28-06-10
      The Government has substantially raised the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for pulses for the current kharif crops. The increase which ranges from Rs. 380 per quintal (100 kg) to Rs. 700 per quintal is part of the Government’s strategy to boost the production of pulses in the country.

      Though the yield of pulses has gone up slightly over the years, the area under these crops has remained stagnant since independence, Ministry of Agriculture informs. The demand has gone up significantly in these years due to rise in population and other factors. Because of this gap between demand and supply of pulses, India has to import large quantities of pulses in the last few years.

      In 2009-10, India imported 3.5 million tons of pulses. Since India is the biggest importer of pulses and not many countries produce pulses, India would face “unfavourable prices in the international market”. High international prices and low domestic production lead to high prices of pulses. This affects the common man the most as pulses are the main source of protein in India.

      The gap between the availability and demand would be expected to widen further in future if farmers do not grow pulses in a big way. For this to happen, farmers would need to grow pulses in irrigated lands, apply micro-nutrients in the soil and adopt appropriate cultivation practices. Raising the productivity and production of pulses at a fast pace, therefore, is part of the four-pronged strategy announced in this year’s budget. In this year’s kharif strategy also, raising productivity and production of pulses assumes high priority.

      To increase investment in pulses and to reach modern farm practices to farmers’ fields so as to encourage farmers towards growing pulses, the Centre is spending Rs. 837.03 crore on pulses development this year. The allocation has risen eight-fold in four years, from Rs. 105.59 crore in 2007-08.

      The rise in MSP for pulses this year is significant, both in terms of absolute increase and percentage rise. For tur (pigeon pea), the rise is Rs. 700 per quintal, from Rs. 2300/q last year to Rs. 3000/q, which represents a 30.43 % increase over the previous year’s MSP. This rise is higher than the rise of Rs. 500 recommended by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). In the case of moong (mung beans), for example, the MSP has been raised from Rs. 2760/q to Rs. 3170/q (rise by Rs. 410/q or 14.18%).

      Higher MSP have been announced for all major kharif crops for the 2010-11 marketing season, including maize, soybean and other, but except cotton. The rise in pulses’ MSPs is the highest compared to other crops.

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