Nidhi Khare, additional secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, on Friday stated the imposition of stock restrictions was necessary to ensure availability of pulses in the market. The department has strengthened the daily price monitoring system, which has given a very accurate feedback on how wholesale, retail or even mandi prices are behaving, she said.
“We are now using more technology in predicting and monitoring of prices across mandis, which has given us the confidence to bring in stock restrictions. Though it is not a very popular step, it was required. This measure has been taken for a few months while we are watching the market and our goal is to provide pulses which are very cheap food commodity without adversely affecting the farmer or miller,” she said. Khare was speaking at a webinar organised by the India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) and India Myanmar Chamber of Commerce on the Tur, Urad and Moong scenario in both countries. Khare said the government in the middle of the Pandemic in May began asking stockists to declare their stocks to understand the availability of pulses in the market. Basically, it helped in checking the expected rise in the price, she said. Khare said that the government was in touch with all state governments and that steps would be taken to ensure that the imposition of stock limits do not affect farmers adversely for the next sowing season. “When we saw that the availability of pulses is a challenge and several other countries including Africa are willing to supply these pulses, we made a bold decision of entering into a relationship for over 5-year span so that farmers in those countries are assured to an extent that there will be a ready market in India,” she said.
Saurabh Kumar, ambassador of India to Myanmar said that pulses are an important aspect to trade between Myanmar and India.” India and Myanmar have been trading in pulses for years and after India brought in a quota system from the year 2017, there was concern among Myanmar farmers that India may not offtake Myanmar’s stocks. This may lead to a diversion of the production pattern in Myanmar. Therefore we worked at great speed to push the MoU between the two countries,” he said. Myanmar farmers used to produce 250,000 tonnes to 300,000 tonnes of pulses, which came down to 80,000 tonnes this year.
India has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Myanmar and Malawi to import tur dal and urad dal for the next five years. The government has signed an MoU with Myanmar to import 250,000 tonnes of urad and 100,000 tonnes of tur every year from 2021-22 to 2025-26 through private trade, and another MoU with Malawi to import 50,000 tonnes of tur every year through private trade for the same period of time.
Vatsal Lilani, managing director, Evertop Commodities, and executive committee member of India Myanmar Chamber of Commerce, underlined the need for increase quantities of the MoU quantity in addition to direct shipping between India and Myanmar. Myanmar Tur production in 2015 was 300,000 tonnes and has slid to 80,000 tonnes this year as the farmers are not sure if India will take on these volumes. The Myanmar farmer has been growing tur for 20 years and now the farmers have zeroed in on cash crops like sesame, cotton and maize that have great demand from China and Thailand. Once farmers shift to other crops, it will be difficult to get them back, he said.