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Pulses export falls on drought-like condition

The exports of Basmati, however, have shown a healthy growth of 16 per cent.

, ET Bureau|
Jul 22, 2019, 08.05 AM IST
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The shipments of Non-basmati rice fell to more than half the quantity exported last year.
New Delhi: Pulses exports are down 59 per cent in the first two months of financial year 2019-20 to 28,962 tonnes as compared to last year during same period. In the last fiscal, India overall exported 2.7 lakh tonnes of pulses — up by more than 50 per cent from 1.80 lakh tonnes in 2017-18.

“Production of pulses this year is down 8.7 per cent from last year’s record production of 25.42 million tonnes to 23.22 million tonnes. This was primarily due to drought-like conditions in pulse-producing areas of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka,” said an agriculture department official. Due to low production, prices of pulses are ruling high in domestic market. As per the data of the consumer affairs department, retail prices of tur dal is in the range of Rs 81-87 a kg as against Rs 72-77 a kg during February this year. The government, last year, didn’t import pulses due to a record stock. But this year, the government has announced import of 4 lakh tonnes this year.

“The global prices are also down this year. As against last year’s average price of $974 (Rs 68,000) a tonne, pulses price at international markets ruled at $913 (Rs 63,900) per tonne during April-May. Traders find it more profitable buying in local markets,” said a consumer affairs department official.

The exports of Basmati, however, have shown a healthy growth of 16 per cent with better realisation. According to APEDA, the nodal agency for promotion of food exports, the exports of Basmati rice has gone up to 8.64 lakh tonnes in the first two months of this fiscal as compared to 2018-19 when the exports were 7.45 lakh tonnes during this period. The realisation was also higher with robust demands. Last year, the average global prices during this period were $819 per tonne which have gone up to $932 a tonne. “With demands coming from the Gulf nations, traders expect a fruitful year for Basmati exports,” the official said. India exported record 45 lakh tonnes of basmati last year earning a forex of over Rs 30,000 crore.

“Even this year, we expect to touch last year’s figure. Global demand is firm. But for last one month, Indian exporters are going slow due to rainy season and non-allocation of payments wired from Iran,” said Vijay Setia, president of All India Rice Exporters Association. He said that last year India exported 14 lakh tonnes of basmati to Iran – the highest ever exports to this country.

The shipments of Non-basmati rice fell to more than half the quantity exported last year. In 2018-19 India exported 15.25 lakh tonnes of Non-basmati rice which has come down to 7.11lakh tonnes this fiscal.

“Prices of Indian rice are noncompetitive at global market due to higher a minimum support price. It is 5-10 per cent higher than cheaper grains from China and Thailand,” said BV Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association.

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