The country has been facing shortage of pulses and corrective steps are being taken, government told the Lok Sabha on Monday while denying that the overall land under cultivation has reduced.
Wheat also had to be imported as there was a shortfall in its procurement during 2005, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said adding to correct the situation, the procurement rate has been increased.
Replying to questions, he said the country needs pulses as shortage was witnessed over the last few years.
To make up for the shortfall, wheat worth Rs 2346 crore was imported in 2005. Prior to that wheat worth Rs 1700 crore was imported in 2004 and Rs 2283 crore in 2003, he said.
The production of pulses has been going down as the area under its cultivation was shrinking, Pawar said, adding farmers were shifting to other crops because the yield of pulses is not sufficient.
He said research to develop new varieties of pulses was going on and in this regard, a variety has been developed which gives yield in less time and requires less water.
The government is encouraging inter-cropping of short duration pulse crops, use of fallow lands and enhanced irrigation facilities besides implementing 'Integrated Scheme on Oilseeds, Pulses, Oil Palm and Maize (ISOPOM)', he said.
Under the scheme, assistance is provided on 75:25 per cent basis between the Centre and state governments for production and distribution of seeds, provision of minikits and Integrated Pest Management (IPM).