By Thomas Kutty Abraham, Bloomberg
Mumbai: MMTC Ltd., a state-run Indian trading company, invited bids to import 46,000 metric tons of lentils to build stockpiles and ease a domestic shortage of the commodity.
MMTC will buy 40,000 tons of chick peas and 6,000 tons of red lentils for delivery at Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai ports between July and November. Lentils will be bought in lots of 1,000 tons and suppliers have until 22 May to submit bids, according to the document on its website.
India will buy 1.5 million tons of lentils including gram and yellow peas to boost domestic stocks, said Junior Finance Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal last week in reply to a question in parliament. The government contracted to buy 287,000 tons as of 25 April and 52,039 tons have already reached ports, he said.
India is taking steps to stockpile grains and pulses as rising domestic prices threaten to fuel inflation as demand exceeds output. Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram last week cut some duties in his final budget to help slow inflation that reached a two-year high in January.
Inflation, which slowed to a four-month low of 5.66% in the week ended on 28 April, is still above the central bank’s forecast of 5%. The rate touched a two-year high of 6.69% in January.