Centre asks TN, AP, Gujarat to lift chana and masur dal, not tur

The Centre has asked states to try and shift consumers from tur to Bengal gram (chana) and lentils (masur), prompting Tamil Nadu to start purchasing tur from the open market. (Mint)
The Centre has asked states to try and shift consumers from tur to Bengal gram (chana) and lentils (masur), prompting Tamil Nadu to start purchasing tur from the open market. (Mint)

Summary

The Centre, through its procuring agency National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India, has so far procured 1.8 million tonnes chana and 49,000 tonnes masur in the ongoing 2023-24 rabi marketing season.

New Delhi: The Centre has asked Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat to procure Bengal gram and lentils instead of tur dal (pigeon pea) for their public distribution system (PDS) from the central pool due to low tur stocks, two government officials said.

Pulses remain a key source of protein across India, and the PDS aims to ensure subsidized supplies to the poorest families.

The Centre has asked states to try and shift consumers from tur to Bengal gram (chana) and lentils (masur), prompting Tamil Nadu to start purchasing tur from the open market.

Gujarat is trying to reduce tur consumption in the state. Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, is insisting on procuring tur from the central pool, one of the officials said. Tamil Nadu has asked for about 30,000 tonnes tur to meet the state’s PDS requirement, while Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have requested for nearly 10,000 and 50,000 tonnes, the other official said.

“We can only suggest states to switch the consumption to other pulses. We cannot force them. We are unable to sanction the quantity they are asking for," the official added.

“We are offering chana to states and union territories at a discount of 15 a kg from the market prevailing price."

Mint on 17 March reported the Centre is likely to nearly double the discount on the chana it sells to states and union territories from its 8 per kg on the market price offering.

The Centre, through its procuring agency National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India, has so far procured 1.8 million tonnes chana and 49,000 tonnes masur in the ongoing 2023-24 rabi marketing season.

With this, the total stock of pulses available in the central pool, at present, is 4 million tonnes, and thus the Centre is at a comfortable position, as far as the buffer stock is concerned, the official said.

Tur is an essential part of the diet in southern states.

Tur production in the year ending September is seen falling to 2.5-2.8 million tonnes against 4.3-4.4 million tonnes of domestic consumption.

The currently available stock of tur in the central pool is only around 150,000 tonnes.

According to the agriculture ministry’s second advance estimates, tur production is pegged at 3.6 million tonnes in 2022-23 (July-June) crop year compared with 4.2 million tonnes last year.

Emails sent on Monday to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, food and public distribution and food ministries and civil supplies of state governments of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat seeking comments remained unanswered till press time.

The dip in production is attributed to lower acreage and erratic rainfall in September-October damaging standing crops. This has not only created supply tightness, but also hit sentiments of the market, pushing prices to a record high.

Prices of ex-mill quality tur in key wholesale markets of Maharashtra and Karnataka are hovering in the range of 8,400-9,300 a quintal.

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