Tur prices: India in talks with Myanmar

Domestic prices have gone up to 8,729-9,142 per quintal on 13 May in Kalaburagi, a key wholesale market in Karnataka from 8,165-8,512 a quintal on 21 April.

Puja Das
Updated15 May 2023
Tur and urad have a share of over 70% in India’s pulses import basket (Mint)
Tur and urad have a share of over 70% in India’s pulses import basket (Mint)

New Delhi: Indian diplomats are in talks with the Myanmar government after tur prices, which had softened slightly in April due to the government’s stock disclosure directive, started moving up again.

Tur and urad have a share of over 70% in India’s pulses import basket, and Mynmar is a major producer of both. But on top of a dip in domestic production, Indian importers are reportedly hoarding tur in Myanmar.

The upswing in prices, which is due to a shortage in the domestic market is likely to persist until the new season begins in October, a top government official said.

The department of consumer affairs has written to the ministry of external affairs “to ensure regular flow of imports from Myanmar, as India has a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the country to import 250,000 tonnes of urad and 100,000 tonnes of tur through private traders. The Indian embassy in Myanmar is also in talk with the local government and private traders,” the official said.

“Sentiment may improve if supply flow from Myanmar is enhanced,” said Indrajit Paul, assistant general manager of DeHaat, an agritech company. “Tur from East Africa will come into the domestic market from August-September onwards; however, lower production and festival demand around that time are anticipated to keep prices range-bound.”

Paul sees prices of tur hovering in the range of 8,500-9,000 a quintal for the remaining months of the ongoing season.

Domestic prices have gone up to 8,729-9,142 per quintal on 13 May in Kalaburagi, a key wholesale market in Karnataka from 8,165-8,512 a quintal on 21 April.

Ex-mill wholesale tur prices in Maharshtra’s Akola have risen 5.7% during the same period to 9,000 a quintal, according to spot traders and agriculture ministry’s Agmarknet portal.

Additionally, a spike in the price of lemon tur by Myanmar traders is pushing up the price of local varieties in India, according to industry experts.

To make more profit, some importers are even hoarding urad in Myanmar. “There is no scarcity of urad in the domestic market. Despite this, traders are not bringing urad from Myanmar. Instead, they have hoarded around 550,000 tonnes of the pulses,” another government official said.

The hoarding has lowered the pace of urad imports by 20% year on year to 340,000 tonnes during January-April of this year.

In a meeting, the department recently told private pulses traders to improve the supply flow. Otherwise, a ban on private trade would be imposed, and the government would initiate G2G (government to government) trade with Myanmar, the official informed.

Emails containing sent on Saturday to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs and Embassy of India, Yangon seeking comments remained unanswered till press time

On 14 April, Mint had reported mill-quality tur (arhar or pigeon peas) prices have experienced a sharp increase in the March quarter and are expected to rise further, driven by an anticipated decrease in domestic supply.

Production of tur (arhar or pigeon pea) in the ongoing season is estimated to be 2.5-2.8 million tonnes against a domestic consumption of 4.3-4.4 mt, the official said, attributing the industry estimate.

However, according to the agriculture ministry’s second advance estimates, tur output in 2022-23 (July-June) crop year is pegged at 3.6 mt compared with 4.2 mt last year. The ministry is expected to come up with its revised estimates later this month.

Quoting government sources, Mint on 20 April reported importers of tur and urad are not bringing their purchases from Myanmar to India and hoarding these pulses to book profit amid rising prices in the domestic market.

Though the disclosure of tur has increased domestically and imports of tur from Myanmar remain at par with last year,

Burma lemon tur which was priced at $835 a tonne on 1 March is now being sold at $1,085 per tonne. In the case of Burma urad, superior quality urad price has risen to $1,080 a tonne from $870 and fair average quality variety to $975 per quintal from $790 during the same duration. “This is due to gain more profit,” said Rahul Chauhan of IGrain India Pvt Ltd.

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