1. Commodity News

Centre Asks States to Enforce Stock Disclosure, as Tur Prices Rise Due to Acreage Decline

The Centre is closely monitoring the overall availability and prices of pulses in domestic and international markets in order to take necessary preventive measures in the event of an unjustified price increase during the upcoming festival months.

Shivam Dwivedi
The Centre is closely monitoring the overall availability and prices of pulses in domestic and international markets in order to take necessary preventive measures in the event of an unjustified price increase during the upcoming festival months.
The Centre is closely monitoring the overall availability and prices of pulses in domestic and international markets in order to take necessary preventive measures in the event of an unjustified price increase during the upcoming festival months.

Under the Essential Commodities Act, the Centre has asked all States & Union Territories to enforce stock disclosure on tur/red gram due to lower acreage and reports that some segments of the trade are resorting to restricted sales.

"On August 12, 2022, the Department of Consumer Affairs issued a directive to all States and UTs to enforce stock disclosure by stockholders of tur under Sections 3(2)(h) and 3(2)(i) of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, as well as to monitor and verify the stocks." The states/UTs have also been asked to direct stockholder entities to upload data on stocks held by them on the Department of Consumer Affairs' online monitoring portal on a weekly basis," according to an official statement.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture on August 12, the area under tur was down by 12% at 42 lakh hectares (lh) compared to 47.55 lh a year ago, as coverage in key producing states such as Maharashtra and Karnataka has declined.

"There are reports that some stockists and traders are using restricted sales to create artificial scarcity in order to drive up prices." "The retail price of tur has been on an upward trend since the second week of July, as a result of slow progress in Kharif sowing compared to last year due to excess rainfall and water logging in parts of major tur-growing states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh," according to the statement.

The Centre is closely monitoring the overall availability and prices of pulses in domestic and international markets in order to take necessary preventive measures in the event of an unjustified price increase during the upcoming festival months.

"In addition to the sufficient overall availability of pulses in the domestic market, the government is currently holding approximately 38 lakh tonnes of pulses that are being released into the market to further augment the stocks available in the market," according to the statement. According to Bimal Kothari, Chairman of the India Pulses and Grains Association, the government is concerned about the rise in tur prices, which have risen by 10-15 per kg in the last one and a half months.

"There is definitely cause for concern on the production front." We recently informed the Consumer Affairs Ministry of our concerns about tur production and requested that no regressive measures be taken, such as raiding traders and mills or imposing stock limits. As an industry, we are prepared to collaborate with the government to ensure maximum supplies so that the product is always available and prices remain stable. Only increased supply will eventually bring down prices. We want the government to take progressive steps to increase production and ensure more supplies," Kothari added. While the Agriculture Ministry predicts a 10% drop in acreage, the trade predicts a 20% drop in acreage under tur.

"Traders anticipate lower tur production." Domestic consumption requires more than 40 lakh tonnes, while domestic production is likely to be between 30 and 35 lakh tonnes, which is insufficient. The government has placed tur imports under open general licence, and imports from Africa's least developed countries (LDCs) are duty-free. Harvesting has begun in Eastern African countries, and arrivals are expected to begin next month. Total arrivals from Africa and Myanmar will be 6-7 lakh tonnes over the next 2-3 months, which will help to stabilize prices," Kothari said.

Meanwhile, chana prices are falling due to increased production, and masur prices are falling due to large crops in Canada and Australia. "India is a price-elastic market, and if tur prices rise, there will be some shift to low-cost pulses like chana and masur," he explained.

(Inputs from Business Line)

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