Data compiled by the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution showed average price of masoor jumped by 14 per cent in two months and it was trading at Rs 76 a kg as against Rs 68 a kg at the beginning of the lockdown. Similarly, average price of moong reported a jump of 13 per cent and it was trading at Rs 112 a kg now from Rs 97 a kg on March 25. Urad, tur and chana have also become costlier by 6-9 per cent.
All varieties of pulses saw prices increase by 6-14 per cent in the wholesale markets.
In contrast, prices of raw (whole) pulses declined with most trading below the minimum support price (MSP).
“Consumption of pulses has declined due to closure of sweets, farsan, snacks shops and other such bulk consumers including hotels, restaurants and caterers. But, consumption might rise after lockdown 4.0 ends on May 31 and state governments open the economy gradually,” said Jitu Bheda, chairman of India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA).
After achieving self-sufficiency with an output of 25.42 million tonnes (mt) in 2017-18, India’s production declined to 22.08 mt in 2018-19.
The Union agriculture ministry in its third advanced estimate forecast pulses output at 23.01 mt, compared to estimated annual consumption of 25.5 mt.
Meanwhile, trade sources said that National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) has decided to release raw pulses. Earlier, Nafed had decided to release processed pulses to avoid delay in their supply to consumers.