Pulse prices in India remain stable during festive season

Despite no announcement coming from the Centre on the extension of stock limits of pulses, prices have remained more or less stable in most markets across the country. Millers, traders, stockists and processors have decided to withhold buying decisions despite the festive season.

The government had implemented a stock limit on pulses under the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), which was effective until October 31, to check price rise. Under this order, stock limits had been prescribed for all pulses, except moong. The stock limits vary up to different amounts for different stakeholders such as wholesalers, retailers, millers and importers.

The Centre had also entered into long-term memorandums of understanding with Myanmar, Malawi and Mozambique for import of over 0.55 million tonne (mt) of tur and urad.

According to Bimal Kothari, vice-chairman, India Pulses & Grains Association, the policy interventions by the government to allow import of key pulses under open general licence till December 31 have yielded positive results for the Indian consumer. There is a liquidity crisis in the market, putting downward pressure on prices, which has now levelled off to the advantage of the consumers, he said.

He expects the demand and supply ratio to remain balanced and consumer prices to remain stable. While the main festive season will end after Diwali, the wedding season that will start by mid-November will ensure some sustained offtake as well, he pointed out. Prices have reduced by 8% to 10% from August’s levels and have remained stable during this festive season. Tur prices have dropped by `Rs 6 to Rs 7 per kg, while urad and masoor prices have dropped by Rs 5 to Rs 6 per kg. Even with chana, the trade expected some shortages but that didn’t happen; prices remained just around or a little higher than the MSP.

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