India, the world’s largest consumer and importer of pulses, is on track to become self-sufficient in the production of the protein-rich commodity and will further boost the output to meet global demand, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Monday.
He mentioned that the government had taken many measures, including a hike in the minimum support price and procurement of pulses to support farmers.
The country had produced 23.40 million tonnes of pulses during the 2018-19 crop year (July-June), still short of annual domestic demand of 26-27 million tonnes. The gap is met through imports.
However, for the current year, the government is targeting pulses output of 26.30 million tonne.
Speaking at an event on the occasion of World Pulses Day, Tomar said, “pulses are becoming necessary not only in India but also in other countries. We faced a huge shortage of pulses earlier, but now the situation has improved.”
Research and development (R&D) at the government’s research body Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and appropriate policy intervention has helped achieve a substantial increase in pulses output in last few years, he said.
Stating that India is almost on the path to becoming self-sufficient in pulses, Tomar said: “As of now, maximum of the domestic requirement is being met in India Itself. We will further boost pulses production and will also help in meeting the global demand.”
Organic range of pulses
The Minister also launched an organic range of pulses at the day-long event, organised by cooperative Nafed and Dubai-based non-profit body Global Pulses Confederation (GPC).
As more number of people are becoming vegan across the world, Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand said, India has the opportunity to meet future demand. However the country needs to take measures to improve the yield level of pulses which at present are lower than the pre-Green Revolution days of 1965.
He emphasised on the need to strengthen R&D for improving productivity, reorientation of trade policies, increase in private investment and identifying the suitability of pulses in different crop sequence.
Global Pulses Confederation (GPC) President Cindy Brown said climate change poses a challenge and India needs to continue to grow more as the protein-rich commodity is still not on the diet list of many people in the country.
Nafed Additional Managing Director S K Singh said India could meet the pulses requirement of neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh from its surplus produce.