Tur prices across the country have firmed up and crossed the minimum support price (MSP) levels of Rs 6,000 per quintal in the current crop year of June 2020-July 2021.
The national agricultural cooperative marketing federation of India (Nafed) has not been able to procure tur (arhar) from Maharashtra due to the rally in prices. Nafed had given five states a procurement target of 15 lakh tonne. Wholesale tur prices are currently hovering between Rs 6,100 per quintal to Rs 7,250 per quintal in key markets in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Jitu Bheda, chairman, India Pulses and Grain Association (IPGA), said that initially tur production was expected to touch 40 lakh tonne, but according to the second advance estimates, tur production likely to drop to 38 lakh tonne.
According to industry sources, the production could come down in the range of 32 lakh tonne to 35 lakh tonne.
Retail tur prices are currently in the Rs 90-100 per kg range in some states and the prices are likely to go up further unless the government intervenes and announces an import quota before the festive season in May-June, he said.
A bullish trend usually leads to stocking up among traders, he added. Although Myanmar and Mozambique have reported lower crop this season, the planting has begun in Australia and the farmers in the country are likely to go in for a higher acreage anticipating a shortage, Bheda said.
The All India Dal Mills Association has approached the government seeking early imports of tur to stabilise prices. Suresh Agrawal, president of the association, said that the crop is around 20% lower than the anticipated production of 40 lakh tonne due to excess rains. “There has been a strong demand from large buyers and stockists. The association has sought early imports because the millers only had a 43-day window last year to import tur. This time we are seeking a 10-month span to be able to plan the imports better,” Agrawal said.
Yogesh Thorat, MD, Maharashtra Farmers Producers Company (MahaFPC) — an umbrella body of farmer producer companies and one of the agencies to participate in the government procurement process in the state — said that farmers are not coming forward to sell their stock to the government procurement centres since they were getting better prices from traders.
Lower than expected yields and the decision of small and medium farmers to hold on to their produce have kept the tur prices up, which are ruling Rs 700-800 per quintal above the MSP, he said. Ex-dal mill prices of the lentil in Latur —the country’s biggest tur market — was Rs 6,900 to Rs 7,500 per quintal, with further correction of prices not being ruled out by traders.
Nafed had given five states a target of nearly 15 lakh tonne, and out of this Maharashtra has been given a target of 2.89 lakh tonne for tur. This was being undertaken by the Maharashtra State Cooperative Marketing Federation, Vidarbha Cooperative Marketing Federation and the Maharashtra Farmers Produce Company (MahaFPC) and Prithashakti Farmer Producer Company (PFPC). Thorat attributed the rise in prices to a lower-than-expected yield and decision of the farmers to hold onto their stocks. Ahead of the harvesting season, the spectre of a bumper crop had brought down the prices below the MSP.