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Your eating habits too are keeping pulse prices high

Tur, moong and chana are now available in the world market below our average minimum support price of Rs 50kg. 

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2016, 12.07 PM IST
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Even if our favourite dal becomes scarce and unaffordable, we don't substitute it with a cheaper option.
Even if our favourite dal becomes scarce and unaffordable, we don't substitute it with a cheaper option.
DELHI: Why have pulses become so expensive over the past two years? The easy answer is scarcity. Two consecutive dry years hit production in India and eroded stocks while bad weather in the other major producers--Canada, Australia, Africa and Myanmar--reduced room for imports in 2015-16.

But equally, the price hike is a result of our palate. You cannot make sambhar with chana nor eat bhatura with tur dal.Even if our favourite dal becomes scarce and unaffordable, we don't substitute it with a cheaper option.

There are regional preferences: Uttar Pradesh likes sabut masoor and Punjab loves sabut urad, while the rest of India stays away from `kali' dal. Rajasthan eats the small desi chana but Madhya Pradesh and Punjab use the bigger `dollar' chana and white kabuli chana. Even millers are choosy about the type of chana they process into `besan' for snacks and namkeen.

The third important reason for price rise is farmers' reluctance to plant more acres with pulses despite the seeming scope for immense profit in crisis years.But over the years, they have too often suffered losses when prices crash while receiving little extra when prices rise.Only when they are convinced that they will not suffer in years of plenty will farmers adopt smart techniques to increase yields of each pulse type.

And so India continues lurching between shortage and severe shortage of pulses. However, the outlook for the next one year now seems brighter. Weather has turned favourable in Canada and Australia. Tur, moong and chana are now available in the world market below our average minimum support price of Rs 50kg. The wholesale markets are reacting to this fall. Farmers have also responded to the higher prices and good rains this summer by planting pulses on 29% more area. Prices at grocery shops will eventually fall in line.
(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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