India imported 5.31 million tonnes of pulses till February 11 against 4.58 million tonnes in the entire 2014-15 fiscal, the food minister told parliament.
“There is a demand-supply gap of 3-4 million tonnes per annum in availability of pulses, which is met mainly through imports by private agencies,” Ram Vilas Paswan said in a written reply.
“During 2015-16 (as on February 11, 2016), a total of 5.31 million tonnes of pulses has been imported, which is 0.73 million tonnes higher than the 4.58 million tonnes imported during 2014-15,” he added.
The minister said the recent rise in the prices of pulses was mainly on account of the lower domestic production due to adverse weather conditions.
“In addition, artificial shortage created by hoarding and black marketing also put pressure on prices of pulses,” Paswan said.
He informed that the Centre has taken a decision to create a buffer stock of 1.5 lakh tonnes of pulses for effective market intervention in future.
As per the Agriculture Ministry’s second estimate, pulses production is estimated at 17.33 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year (July—June), marginally higher than the previous year’s production of 17.15 million tonnes.