Mandi prices of tur above MSP, chana prices dip as arrivals pick up

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Mandi prices of two major pulses, tur (arhar) and gram (chana), across key producing states are showing a divergent trend as arrivals have picked up.

The average modal mandi prices of tur in producing states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are ruling at Rs 6,400- Rs 6,500 per quintal against the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 6,300 per quintal. The modal mandi prices of chana (gram) in key producing states Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, meanwhile, are ruling around Rs 5,000 per quintal against the MSP of Rs 5,320 a quintal.

The mandi prices of tur and chana, which have a share of more than 63% in India’s pulses production in 2021-22, have impacted the MSP procurement operations of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed).  Since the operations began in January, Nafed has procured only 20,000 tonne of tur so far.

The federation has procured around 1.6 lakh tonne (LT) of chana as of Monday from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, since procurement began earlier this month. Trade sources said chana procurement is likely to pick up pace in the coming weeks as April is the peak month for arrival of the crop.

Lower procurement of tur has reduced Nafed’s buffer stock. Currently, the farmer federation has around 1.7 MT of pulses stock — 1.33 LT (tur), 11.04 LT (chana), 3.44 LT (moong) and 0.53 LT (urad) against the norm of 21 LT.

According to the second advance estimates for 2021-22 season, the government had pegged tur output at 4 million tonne, slightly lower than the previous year’s 4.32 MT. Traders say excessive rain during the flowering stage has reduced this year’s tur output by around 20%.

“Farmers are holding onto tur stocks in anticipation of higher prices,” Nitin Kalantri, managing director, Kalantri Food, a Latur, Maharashtra-based processor of pulses, told FE.

Chana output in 2021-22 is likely to touch 13.12 MT as against 11.92 MT reported in 2020-21.

Bimal Kothari, vice chairman, All India Pulses and Grains Association, said chana arrivals in Gujarat and Maharashtra mandis are rising steadily. “Because of this arrival pressure, chana prices have come down below MSP,” Kothari said.

In anticipation of a domestic shortfall in output, in May 2021, the country put imports of tur, urad and moong in the ‘open’ category from ‘restricted’ till March 2022. Till now, close to 7 lakh tonne of tur has been imported in 2021-22.

Yogesh Thorat, managing director, MahaFPC, the umbrella body of FPCs in Maharashtra and a state-level agency that procures tur and chana on behalf of Nafed, has sought a revolving fund from the state government. This would help ensure adequate liquidity to pay the dues of farmers for their produce within three days of the receipt of the produce.