New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee expects a sharp dip in import of pulses, as the country has produced a record 17.29 million tonnes in 2010-11 crop year.
“I am told that within a year of launching the initiative of 60,000 pulses villages, assisted by the good monsoons, the agricultural year 2010-11 should see pulses production touch an all-time high of 17.3 million tonnes.
“This should dramatically cut down our dependence on imports to meet the shortfall in domestic demand,” Mukherjee said at a CII conference.
In last year’s budget, Mukherjee had allocated Rs300 crore for organising 60,000 ‘pulses and oilseed villages´ to boost productivity and production of these two crops.
India, the world’s largest producer and biggest consumer of pulses, has to depend on imports to meet the shortfall in domestic demand. The country had imported 3.5 million tonnes in the 2009-10 fiscal. In the first seven months last fiscal, the import was 1.61 million tonnes valuing Rs4,542 crore.
Pulses output has remained stagnant around 13-14 million tonnes during last two decades, while the annual domestic demand has risen to 18-19 million tonnes. The availability of pulses in global markets is also limited.
Good monsoon, better remuneration received by farmers and the 60,000 pulses village scheme were the major factors that helped the country raise output to 17.3 million tonnes from 14.66 million tonnes in 2009-10 crop year (July-June).
Mukherjee also hoped that “several similar initiatives covering vegetables, protein supplements, nutri-cereals and edible oil that have been launched as part of the Budget proposals for 2011-12 would yield equally impressive results in coming years.”
In his 2011-12 Budget speech, the finance minister had announced Rs300 crore each for new schemes to step up production of vegetables, oil palm, nutri-cereals, protein supplements and fodder.