Farmers face huge losses as Tur Dal prices dip by Rs 90/kg

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Apr 2017 09:21:50

By Prashant Dongre,

AFTER hitting the roof last year, the prices of Tur Dal have contracted unprecedently bringing huge losses to farmers. Tur Dal, which was priced at Rs 150 to Rs 155 per kg on April 25, 2016 had come down to Rs 59 to Rs 65 per kg showing a depreciation of Rs 90 or 138.46 per cent.

“This has happened after an interval of 10 years where the Government is struggling to increase the prices of Tur Dal so that farmers should not get discouraged and shift to other crops in the monsoon season,” said Pratap Motwani, Secretary of The Wholesale Grain and Seeds Merchants Association while talking to The Hitavada. He said that there was ample production of Tur crop in the country which had made the situation dismal for farmers.

Last year, the production of Tur was 25 lakh tonnes which increased to 45 lakh tonnes, registering a growth of 80 per cent. He said that the production of Tur in Madhya Pradesh last year was 6.40 lakh tonnes which increased to 10.45 lakh tonnes this year resulting into a growth of 63 per cent. In Telangana, the production of Tur was 1.40 lakh tonnes last year which augmented to 2.45 lakh tonnes (75 per cent); in Karnataka, it was 2.42 lakh tonnes last year and this year it had gone up to 10.9 lakh tonnes, a rise of 350 per cent; in Gujarat, there was output of 2.82 lakh tonnes last season which increased to 3.69 lakh tonnes showing an appreciation of 31 per cent; similarly in Maharashtra, the production of Tur was 6.16 lakh tonnes which ascended to 20.35 lakh tonnes, showing a staggering growth of 231 per cent.

Motwani said that when the prices of Tur Dal had reached its nadir at Rs 175 to Rs 180 per kg during Diwali last year, the Government had to face the ire of the public and the Opposition parties. In order to quell the situation, the Government imported Tur Dal and made it available at Rs 120 per kg.

In order to avoid the embarrassing situation this year, the Government conducted the same exercise and imported 17 lakh tonnes of Tur Dal from overseas markets. To discourage imports, on March 1, 2017, the Government announced 10 per cent Import Duty which brought little solace to the farmers as the prices increased by Rs 3 to 4 per kg of Tur Dal. However, the situation did not remain the same in the market as there was ample influx of Tur in the market resulting into a fall in its prices, he said. Taking cognizance of the situation, the Government tried to give some relief to the farmers and declared support price of Rs 50.50 per kg.

Till April 22, 2017, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), a Union Government’s agency, had purchased 8.75 lakh tonnes Tur from the farmers including 3.10 lakh tonnes from Maharashtra. Farmers in Maharashtra wanted that the NAFED should purchase another 7 lakh tonnes from them. Due to oversupply, NAFED suspended the procurement process which made the situation more complex, Motwani said. Even the Government increased the stock limit from 3,000 bags to 9,000 bags. One bag contains one quintal of the produce.

He said: “The Maharashtra Government has requested the Central Government to hike Import Duty on Tur Dal from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.” The arrival of mangoes in the market had further worsened the situation in the market. People, instead of purchasing Tur Dal, were purchasing the ‘King of Fruits’, i.e. mango, which too affected the demand of Tur Dal.

“Even the future trading in Tur Dal is not taking place as the prices have come down remarkably. All these factors have disappointed the farmers to a larger extent,” Motwani pointed out.
He suggested that if the Government was serious towards the problems of the farmers, then it should open the export market for Tur Dal which would give good prices to the farmers.
There is a ban on exports of Tur Dal since 10 years.