After a gap of three years, India, the largest pulses producer and consumer of pulses in the world, has opened up import of tur, moong and udid as the Union ministry of commerce changed these three pulses from restricted to open category. Traders and importers have welcomed the move, however millers and farmers are surprised by the decision as it may suppress the prices.

Pulses trade body Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) has welcomed the decision of the government. Jitu Bheda, chairman, IPGA said, “The government has acted promptly and taken an extremely progressive step by revising the import policy of Toor, Moong & Urad from “Restricted” to “Free” with immediate effect. The policy will be in effect till 31st Oct 2021. All consignments will have to arrive on or before 30th Nov 2021 and BL date should be 31st Oct or before. IPGA welcomes this move wholeheartedly as it’s done keeping the farmers interest in mind as well as to help keep the rising prices of pulses in check. It’s a timely decision by the government especially during the current challenging times.

“The Open General License (OGL) under the free import policy will enable the traders to quickly import the required quantity of tur, moong and urad to fulfil the shortage of the pulses. We are expecting a minimum 250,000 tons of tur, 150,000 tons of urad and around 50,000 – 75,000 tons of moong beans to be imported primarily from Myanmar, African and the neighbouring countries,” added Bheda.

“Import policy for tur/pigeon peas; moong and urad is revised from “restricted” to “free” with immediate effect and for the period up to October 31, 2021,” the notification says. The policy will be in effect till October 31, 2021. All consignments will have to be cleared before November 30, 2021 and bill date should be October 31 or before.

The central government had allocated a quota for import of tur and urad in 2021-22. However, according to trade sources, some traders could get a stay on the quota in a High Court, which made it impossible for the government to allocate import quota to the applicants. “Government might have considered factors like lower buffer stock of pulses with government agency Nafed (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation), uncertainty in availability of pulses from Myanmar due to the political instability in that country and high ocean freight while opening up pulses imports,” said a trade source who did not want to be quoted.

Farmers and traders who have stocks with them are worried about losses as prices are likely to move downwards as demand is subdued due to lockdown restrictions in many parts of the country. “The demand for pulses has been low for some time now and not likely to improve in the near future. Prices of tur and urad are ruling just above the government mandated minimum support price (MSP), while moong prices are below MSP,” said Maharashtra-based pulses processor Nitin Kalantry.

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