Favourable weather leading to a bumper crop that has improved market sentiments and prices have reduced by over 25 per cent in the past two weeks. Sources say retail rates of the staple are expected to recede significantly.
There are many factors. Retailers had to incur higher costs when the rate was high. Now, the prices have come down in wholesale markets. People hope that in the next few weeks retail markets will also see the impact.
India is the world’s largest producer of pulses, but still has to import three-four million tonnes a year to meet its growing domestic demand. The country brought in 2.23 million tonnes of pulses in the first half of the 2015-16 fiscal year.
The price of arhar dal, which had sky-rocketed a few months ago, has come down to Rs 75-85 per kg in the Capital’s wholesale markets. However, the retail rate is still hovering around Rs 150-160 per kg.
Because of inclement weather and droughts, pulse production in the country had slumped to around 16- 17 million tonnes in 2014-15 and 2015-16 against a requirement of around 23 million tonnes. Prices had crossed the Rs 200/kg mark in retail markets across the country.
Concerned about high inflation, the government initiated a series of measures to boost supply of pulses, both in the short and long term, which included collecting buffer stock of two million tonnes as well as checks on hoarding and black-marketing of pulses.
Centre also imposed stock limits on pulses held by licensed food processors, importers, and exporters as well as large departmental retailers. Quelling food costs is critical for the NDA government’s popular support with a slew of elections slated in key states over the next year.
In Delhi, the Centre is selling pulses at lower rates of Rs 120 a kg through outlets of Kendriya Bhandar and Safal. An official said over 800 tonnes of pulses have been allocated for these agencies to sell in the city.