Owing to "alarmingly" spiralling prices, Indian households reduced pulse consumption to less than 11 kg in the first half of 2009, according to a report by an industry body.
According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham), the consumption of pulses can fall further to around nine kg in the latter part of the year if corrective measures were delayed.
Assocham's Pulses Report says that during the 1960s, per capita pulses consumption was around 27 kg. It plunged to 11 kg this year following a steep hike in prices.
"The factor responsible for it was that no serious attention was paid to increase pulses production under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM)," the chamber said.
The Mission primarily focused on greater wheat, rice, millet and corn production resulting in increasing the yields of these crops at the cost of pulses.
As a result, production of pulses fell. Now with prices more than doubling in the last one year, it has become beyond the reach of the common man.
"It was evident from the fact that overall growth in yield of pulses since the inception of the Green Revolution in 1967 is the least among major crops cultivated in the country at a mere 1.14 percent," said Assocham secretary general D S Rawat.
"On the other hand, wheat, rice, oilseed and maize have respectively witnessed an annual growth of 2.8 percent, 2.23 percent, 1.88 percent and 1.7 percent."
According to the report, while total pulses availability in the country has reflected a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.39 percent during the last two decades, the population has increased at a CAGR of more than 1.8 percent.
Interestingly, India's exports of pulses grew at a far greater pact than imports, from 1.09 thousand tonne in 1980-81 to 447.44 thousand tonnes in 2005-06.
The report said imports of pulses grew at CAGR 10.38 percent from nearly 173,000 tonnes in 1980-81 to 226,000 thousand tonnes in 2006-07, mainly due to low import tariff rates which currently stands at zero percent.
India imports from Canada, Myanmar, Australia and the US.