Govt allows export of pulses as bumper crop cools prices

The government has allowed exports of all varieties of pulses from the country in view of bumper production and falling prices and to ensure that farmers get remunerative prices for their produce.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday gave approval for the lifting of prohibition on export of all types of pulses to ensure that farmers have greater choice in marketing their produce and in getting better remuneration for their produce.

The CCEA also announced the setting up of an empowered committee of secretaries to review the export-import policy and consider measures such as quantitative restrictions, prior registration and changes in import duties depending on domestic production and demand, domestic and international prices and international trade volumes.

The empowered committee chaired by secretary, department of food and public distribution (DFPD), will have secretaries of department of commerce (DoC), department of agriculture, cooperation and farmers welfare (DAC&FW), department of revenue (DoR), department of consumer affairs (DoCA) and directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) as its members.

Opening of export of all types of pulses will help the farmer to dispose of their produce at remunerative prices and also encourage them to expand the area of sowing. It would also provide an alternative market for the surplus production of pulses. Allowing export of pulses will also help the country and its exporters to regain their markets.

It is expected that pulses production will be sustained in the country and import dependence on pulses will come down substantially. This is also likely to provide higher levels of protein to the population and work towards nutritional security. The integration with global supply chain is also likely to help our farmers in adopting good agricultural practices and better productivity.

In 2016-17 production year, Indian farmers have produced 23 million tonnes of pulses, living up to the challenge of reducing the country's import dependence on pulses. The government has taken a number of steps, including procurement of 2 million tonnes of pulses of various varieties at support prices, to sustain rising levels of pulses production.

This has also been the largest direct procurement of pulses by the government from farmers, also ensuring minimum support prices or market rates.

Domestic production of pulses during 2016-17 was 22.95 million tonnes. This included Chana Dal (Gram) production of 9.33 million tonnes, up from 7.06 million tonnes in 2015-16, showing a growth of 32 per cent.

Production of other rabi pulses (including Masoor Dal (Lentil) etc) for 2016-17 was 3.02 million tonnes compared to 2.47 million tonnes in 2015-16, showing a growth of 22 per cent.

For the year 2017-18, the government has fixed a target production of 22.90 million tonnes of pulses.