Pulse Sector in India
India’s economy has been dominated by agriculture. However, Indian agriculture fiercely depends on monsoons to yield sufficient agricultural returns. India’s major food crops rice and wheat have been heavily incentivized with MSP in addition to preferential treatment of PDS to benefit the Indian poor. Hence, Indian farmers are most motivated to grow either these crops or cash crops like cotton, sugarcane etc. Pulses have been a second choice for the farmers for cultivation. However, due to awareness about newer soil management techniques such as crop rotation etc pulse farming is receiving attention by the Indian farmers. However, there still persists many bottle necks in pulse farming mainly due to the erratic pulse prices , non-inclusion of pulses in PDS etc , also the farmer rarely gets the MSP and sells at the prevailing market prices. Stockpiling for future has not paid off to many farmers as prices never reach the expectation. This is adversely affecting the acreages especially in the Kharif Season where Soybean, maize and paddy fetch better returns. In an effort to make pulses more accessible to the consumers and yet make it more remunerative, Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all major pulses was introduced which allows imports at zero duty and bans exports. Yet the per capita availability and the consumer prices remain low and high respectively. Under NFSM a special programme ‘Accelerated Pulses Production Programme’ (A3P) which was launched in year 2010-11 with objective to demonstrate plant nutrient and plant protection centric improved technologies of pulse crops namely chickpea, blackgram, greengram, and lentils. Through, these programmes, efforts were made to demonstrate the improved crop production technologies in cluster mode to envisage the impact of large scale demonstrations and to build confidence among the farmers. The progress has been made in the last few years to develop short duration varieties of pulses which need more attention to intensify efforts to harvest the huge potential of summer pulses in Indo-Gangetic plains and rice fallows. The summer pulses are being grown as a bonus crop in the states like Punjab,Haryana, Western Utter Pradesh, Bihar and recently in Madhya Pradesh as solo crop and intercrop with sugarcane and other crops. Much more focused efforts are needed to develop suitable pulse technology for rice fallow to expand the base of pulses production in eastern states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar West Bengal and Assam.
Pulses historically have been one of the most important constituent of the Indian cropping and consumption patterns. In a country where vegetarianism is promoted, pulses form the indispensable constituent of the daily dining palate of the poorest Indian. India is the largest producer and consumer of pulses in the world contributing around 25-28% of the total global production. About 90% of the global pigeonpea, 75% of chickpea and 37% of lentil area falls in India The major pulses producing states are Madhya Pradesh (25%), Utter Pradesh (13%), Maharashtra (12%), Rajasthan (11%), Andhra Pradesh (9%) and other states together (30%). Chickpea, pigeon pea, lentil, mung bean, urad bean and field pea are major pulses grown and consumed in India. Among the pulses, chickpea contributed 48%, Pigeonpea 17%, blackgram 10%, greengram 7% and other pulses 18% towards total pulses production. The total consumption of various pulses and pulses products in India is about 21-22 million tonnes. India’s annual interim pulse production is about 18.45 million covering an area of about 23.47 million hectare majority of which falls under rainfed, resource poor and harsh environments frequently prone to drought and other abiotic stress condition. To meet the demand of pulses, India is at present importing about 4.02 million tons. In order to ensure self- sufficiency, the pulse requirement in the country is projected at 32 million tonnes by the year 2030 which necessitates an annual growth rate of 4.2%. The gap of 4.5 million to 5 million tons is bridged with imported pulses. The gap between supply and demand has been growing every year due to increase in population as well as consumption. India’s demand-supply gap is bridged by imports from countries like Canada, Australia, Myanmar, USA, Russia, Ukraine, etc.