Import of 4.06 lakh tonnes of pulses has been contracted so far this year for buffer stock, and the total shipments could rise to 10 lakh tonnes, the government Tuesday said. After a gap of two years, the government started importing pulses from 2015 to meet the domestic shortfall and price rise. It also decided to create a buffer stock of 20 lakh tonnes through domestic procurement and imports. “The government has approved creation of buffer stock of up to 20 lakh tonnes, of which up to 10 lakh may be imported,” Minister of State for Food C R Chaudhary said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
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Import of 4.06 lakh tonnes of pulses has been contracted till date towards building the buffer, he said.
Of the total pulses import deals clinched so far, tur was 1.58 lakh tonnes, masoor about 1.35 lakh tonnes, chana 70,000 tonnes and urad 42,500 tonnes, he said.
On price rise of pulses, the Minister said the fall in output including chana in the last two consecutive years due to drought has put pressure on prices of select pulses and the government has taken measures to check rates.
The government has released subsidised chana from buffer stock to state governments, central agencies and now also through auction, he said.
Replying to a separate query whether the government has plans to bridge wholesale and retail prices of pulses, the Minister replied in the negative.
On procurement of lentil, the Minister said that harvesting of kharif crops has started, while lentil is a rabi crop which will be harvested from February through April.
He said that the government would procure lentils under the price stabilisation fund (PSF) scheme towards building the approved buffer stock of 20 lakh tonnes of pulses.
The government is targeting a record 20.75 million tonnes of pulses output in the ongoing 2016-17 crop year (July-June). The previous record was 19.25 million tonnes achieved in 2013-14. Thereafter, output fell due to drought.