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Pulses may go onion way; El Nino big worry for production: Assocham
If El Nino weighs on the Monsoon and rains are deficient, pulses production will get severely hit and affect the households? budget the way onion brought tears to the common-man in the recent past and may give pain to the stomach, a study on pulses by industry body Assocham has cautioned.
The major pulse-producing states - Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, which together account for about 80% of the total production may witness less rainfall affecting the output and prices.

The demand-supply mismatch of pulses is causing further pressure on the  prices of pulses which may shoot in the near future and therefore, timely precautionary steps need to be taken,  the Assocham recent paper said.

India's pulses production of nearly around 18.60 MMT against  the demand 22 MMT in India, has witnessed a very slow growth of mere 4.7% (CAGR) in the last five years and the unseasonal rains are also likely to impact the output  further this year.

Assocham's President, Rana Kapoor while commenting on the trend said  prices in India are  dependent upon global production and  supply situation in key exporting nations such as Canada, Myanmar, Australia and USA.

"India's large dependence on imports, higher prices and declining per capital availability and consumption of pulses have been matter of concern," adds the paper.

Despite the rise in production in last three years, domestic demand will continue to be more than the supplies in coming years. It shows that India is expected to produce around 21 million tonnes (mt) of pulses till 2016, while demand is projected to touch around 23 mt in the next few years, adds the paper.

The production of pulses which is grown in India such as gram, tur, masoor, urad, chick peas, rajma etc has been hovering around 11-15 mt since the late 70s. But, from 2010-11 (July-June) onwards there has been a sharp surge in output and production reached a record 18.24 mt in 2010-11. It continued to remain around 17-18 mt levels in the next few years and is projected to reach almost 18.5-19 mt in 2013-14.

Assocham believes that improving research and development in pulses to develop more high yielding varieties and focusing more on bringing more pulses growing area under irrigation could be another way out.

The major pulse-producing states are Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, which together account for about 80% of the total production. Pulses are grown in an area of 22-23 million hectares with an annual production of 13-18 million tons (MT). India accounts for 33% of the world area and 24% of the world production of pulses. There is a steep increase in the prices of pulses due to supply constraints to meet the growing demand due to population and increasing purchasing powers.

The pulses are grown across the country with the highest share coming from Madhya Pradesh (24%), Uttar Pradesh (16%), Maharashtra (14%), Andhra Pradesh (10%), Karnataka (7%) and Rajasthan (6%), which together share about 77% of the total pulse production, while the remaining 23% is contributed by Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand, adds the paper.

To improve the availability and per capita consumption of pulses in the country, the Assocham Study stressed the need for pulses production by technological advancement, enhancing yields and increased acreage. 

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