Likely delay in arrival of the monsoon to Central India and erratic rain distribution due to El Nino effect could push the prices of pulses further, say experts.
Pulses, including tur, urad and chana, have become dearer by 30-40% in the past two months, mainly because of fall in production of winter crop owing to unseasonal rains and hailstorm.
With more than 60% of agricultural land in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra - two largest pulses producing state - being rain-fed, farmers need timely rains for sowing kharif crops.
“Even though the southwest monsoon will hit Kerala on time, its north-ward progress will be delayed by about a week and Central India will not get monsoon rains till June 20,” the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology has said.
Trade experts say that any negative development on the monsoon front will lead to hike in prices.
“Pulses prices have gone up due to fall in production of rabi (winter) crop and could increase further if erratic monsoon hits sowing in kharif season,” said Rakesh Khandelwal, a wholesale trader.
The department of agriculture has revised down pulses production estimate by 5.6 percent in the third advance estimate from 18.43 million tonnes to 17.38 million tonnes.
Early withdrawal of monsoon, followed by dry weather in the rabi sowing period resulted into a sharp reduction in acreage of chana and some other pulses varieties.
Industry experts blame the high prices on faulty government policies besides fall in production.
“Government policy is to be blamed for fall in output of some pulses especially chana,” said Bimal Kothari, vice-president, Indian Pulses and Grains Association.
India is the world’s biggest producer as well as consumer of pulses. It imports about 4 million tonnes annually but global supply of pulses is limited.
Price rise in retail markets
Pulses Current price 3 months ago price
Urad Rs 110 Rs 80
Chana Rs 65 Rs 45
Tur Rs 105 Rs 85
Masoor Rs 95 Rs 75