Chana procurement likely to start in 3 states in a few weeks
The government of Maharashtra has sent a proposal to the Centre seeking permission for the procurement of chana in the state.
With chana prices ruling below the government declared minimum support price (MSP) in several mandis across the country, government procurement is likely to begin in the next couple of weeks in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
The government of Maharashtra has sent a proposal to the Centre seeking permission for the procurement of chana in the state. Accordingly, online farmer registrations have also begun a couple of days ago, senior government officials said. In Karnataka, permission has been sought for procurement in 10 districts of the state while Madhya Pradesh has declared that the government will begin to procure chana from farmers from March 5, traders said.
The Centre has increased the MSP for chana by 2.5% for the 2022-23 marketing season at Rs 5,230 a quintal against Rs 5,100 a quintal in the previous year. However, the current prices are trading around Rs 4,800-5,000 per quintal in various mandis. Traders have attributed the need for procurement under MSP due to a rise in chana output. As per the second advance estimates released by the ministry of agriculture, chana output in 2021-22 is likely to touch 13.12 million tonne as against 11.92 MT in 2020-21.
Chana acreage, according to ministry of agriculture data, has increased from 1.69 lakh hectares (lh) in 2016-17 to 10.94 lh in 2021-22, a whopping 547% increase, almost six times in the past six years.
Moreover, this year, besides Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, other states such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh have also seen a rise in acreage. This rabi, Maharashtra overtook Madhya Pradesh as the largest state to cultivate chana. The area under the pulses crop increased by 9.2% in Maharashtra to 25.24 lh, while Madhya Pradesh had 24.94 lh under chana. Similarly, Gujarat saw a 36% increase in the area under chana at 10.94 lh from 8.03 lh the previous season.
Suresh Agrawal, president, All India Dal Millers Association (AIDMA), has estimated the chana crop to touch 90 lakh tonne this season. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have set the process in motion for the procurement of chana, he said, adding that Rajasthan crop will hit the market sometime in April thus adding to the pressure on prices. Moreover, the lack of buying interest by traders and stockists, due to the curbs imposed on stocking pulses is also weighing on the prices, on the prices, he said. With an estimated consumption of 6 lakh tonne per month, the carry-forward stocks with the trade till February end should be around five lakh tonnes and the government at around four lakh tonne, Agrawal said.
According to Nitin Kalantri, a major pulse trader from Latur, the current prices of chana are ranging between Rs 4,600 per quintal and Rs 4,700 per quintal in Maharashtra. Prices should stabilise at Rs 4,300 to Rs 4,400 per quintal if government procures aggressively, he said, adding that demand is low at present. Although the crop yield is lower by 10% the area sown is good and, therefore, there should be no problem in touching last year’s production, Kalantri pointed out. “The farmer is the biggest stockist and we need to watch till what prices they sell on the lower side,” he observed.
Yogesh Thorat, MD, Maharashtra Farmer Producers Company (MahaFPC), one of the procurement agencies involved in chana procurement said that the tur (Arhar) procurement saw a poor response from farmers. Against the target of 7 lakh tonne of current year procurement, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) managed to procure only around 7,000 tonne of tur under the government’s price support scheme (PSS) operation, he said. We have begun the groundwork for the purchase centres in Maharashtra and how well the chana procurement proceeds will depend on market conditions, he said.
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