Pricey pulses to burn hole in pockets again?
According to traders, like in 2015, the price of popular pulses would breach the Rs 250 per kilogram mark. The signs are all there- the price of urad dal has already crossed the Rs 200 mark and similar price escalation is expected for other lentils too.
“The reason for the skyrocketing pulse prices is the involvement of corporate giants in the trade. For the last two years, it has been observed that prices of pulses start increasing after domestic production is procured by corporate giants like Reliance, Tata, Adani and Mahindra, etc. They then stock the pulses in remote locations,” said Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, who heads the Grain Merchants’ Association of Bengaluru.
“Given that stock limit is in place, small traders cannot procure pulses beyond the permissible limit. This forces us to buy from corporate houses to replenish our stock,” Lahoti explained. “Since, farmers can’t hold their produce in mandis for long and traditional traders cannot buy beyond the limit, they are forced to sell to big players, who hoard the raw stock in port-connected cities and regulate the prices by manipulating the demand,” the trader said, adding that Prime Minister Modi has been urged to bring importers under the clause of crushing raw material in 15 days from the time of arrival of the product and introducing the same in the market for trade.
Commenting on the issue, the Delhi Grain Merchants’ Association president Naresh Gupta said, “The importers are playing a key role in the price escalation. They are also not landing their goods as traders and millers are not ready to procure the lentils. Also the domestic production is decreasing, while the demand is increasing. The government must revisit the policies to deal with the issue.”
Gupta further added that this year the domestic production of pulses is 1 lakh MT less than the previous year’s 17 lakh MT production. With not much stock available with traders, the price of lentils has gone up by 25-30 per cent in the last 15 days and it will continue to soar. In earlier years, traders in Delhi used to have a stock of about 25 lakh quintal in April, which has come down to just 10 lakh quintal this year in the same month.