NAFED to start procuring pulses as prices fall below MSP

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Pulses being sold in a market in India.

With prices of pulses ruling below the minimum support price (MSP), the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) has decided to begin procurement from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, senior industry people said.

NAFED has given a target of nearly 15 lakh tonnes to be procured from these states. Maharashtra has been given a target of 2.89 lakh tonne for tur. This will be undertaken by the Maharashtra State Cooperative Marketing Federation, Vidarbha Cooperative Marketing Federation, Maharashtra Farmers Produce Company (MahaFPC) – the apex body of FPCs in the state – and Prithashakti Farmer Producer Company.

Ex-mill prices of tur in Latur and Akola have gone down below the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 6,000 per quintal. Tur has been cultivated across 47.10 lakh hectare in the country and 12.36 lakh hectare in Maharashtra, where procurement is set to begin from January 20.

Farmers and millers feel price trends in tur and chana are likely to remain bearish, thanks to a good crop outlook. Tur prices were at Rs 7,000-8,000 per quintal in September-October 2020. At that time, NAFED did not sell its stock in the open market. It was only after tur imports of nearly 4 lakh tonne began that NAFED also brought its stocks in the market and started selling at Rs 5,400-5,500 per quintal.

Farmers sale price thus dropped below MSP rates. Initially, imports were restricted till November 15, but later extended to December 31, which helped the downward trend of sluggish prices. 

Currently, almost 3000 quintals of freshly harvested pulses are reaching the millers. Harvesting has already begun in Karnataka which could cause another fall in prices. The chana season is likely to commence from February, and with NAFED selling stocks, prices are likely to rule lower.

MahaFPC has set up around 170 purchase centres and Maharashtra Marketing Federation has set up 167 centres. The Vidarbha Cooperative Marketing Federation will set up 30-odd centres. Traders said the decision of NAFED to start procurement would help correct the price slide.

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