Ludhiana: Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has suggested that the state government raise the purchase price for pulses to Rs2,500 per quintal, in view of the spurt in retail prices.
“We have suggested that the the state government should fix a minimum price of Rs 2,500 per quintal for pulses so that farmers get better prices for their produce at a time when the retail prices have shot up enormously,” said H.S. Sekhon, senior agronomist and in-charge of pulse section at the university.
In a proposal submitted to state government on ‘Prospects for promoting pulse production in Punjab,’ the university has also proposed fixing remunerative procurement price and assured lifting of pulses on the lines of wheat and paddy crops.
Non-fixation of remunerative prices and non-lifting of pulses by government procurement agencies have cast a shadow over production of pulses, Sekhon said.
Besides, the university has urged setting up of pulses purchasing centres in select food grain markets to boost its production in the state.
Once the procurement centres are set up, the farmers would not find any problem in selling their crop, which would encourage them to grow more pulses, he said.
Due to the predominance of rice and wheat, the area under pulses, such as chickpea, lentil and mungbean, in the state has declined from 341,000 hectares (ha) in 1980-81 to 36,000ha.
Similarly, its production has also dipped to 27,000 tonnes in 2004-05 from 204,000 tonnes in 1980-81 in the state.
According to experts, Punjab requires about 500,000-tonne pulses per annum for its own consumption against the production of 70,000 tonnes.