March 6, 2021 10:43:38 am
With the beginning of Rabi harvesting season, major Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) yards in Saurashtra are awash with gram (chickpea) and some of them have been forced to regulate arrival of the commodity.
As the state is poised to harvest a bumper crop, a price forecast report by the Junagadh Agricultural University (JAU) has advised farmers to sell their gram soon after harvest to government at minimum support price (MSP).
Rajkot APMC has been allowing farmers to unload their gram on its yards only twice a week. “Farmers are in a hurry to rush their produce to the market to take advantage of good prices at the beginning of the season. Within hours of opening the gate to chana farmers, our yard is recording arrivals of up to 18,000 quintals. Traders functioning out of our yard are unable to handle this quantity on daily basis and, therefore, we are forced to regulate the arrival,” said Devraj Sakhiya, chairman of Rajkot APMC.
Babulal Tejani, secretary of Rajkot APMC, said that arrivals of coriander, cumin seeds and cotton are also substantial and that is leading to space crises on the yard. “Chana farmers are getting around Rs 4,500 per quintal as thanks to government policy, chana prices in domestic market are competitive vis-à-vis imports. But traders are facing capacity limitations…,” said Tejani.
Gondal and Jasdan APMCs are also regulating arrivals. “Our yard is proving insufficient as arrivals of coriander, onion, cumin seeds are very big. Therefore, we may have to regulate chana arrivals now,” said Pravin Somaiya, secretary of Gondal APMC.
The Central government has fixed Rs 5,100 as the MSP of gram for Rabi marketing season 2021-22 which is Rs 300 higher than the previous year. But farmers are selling their crop at slightly lower rates. “Farmers are selling in the open market despite realising price slightly lower than MSP as they don’t have to bother about the fair average quality norms while selling in open market,” Kanaiya Kishori, chairman of Dahod APMC, the biggest pulses market in Central Gujarat, said.
The initial market trend is consistent with price forecast report published by Department of Agricultural Economics (DAE) of JAU on Thursday. “Prices of gram during March to April, 2021, at harvest, may remain in the range of Rs 850 to Rs 940 per 20 kg (Rs 4,250 to Rs 4,700 per quintal). Hence, farmers are suggested to sell gram upon harvest (at MSP centres in APMCs) without going for storage,” the report concludes.
The team led by Maganlal Dhandhalia of DAE analysed monthly price data collected from Dahod APMC and the overall market and crop scenario in the country and the state to compile the price forecast report. The report states that gram production in India is estimated to be 116.2 lakh tonnes (lt) — around five per cent higher as compared to 110.8 lt the previous season. In Gujarat, farmers had sown chana in 8.2 lakh hectare (lh), more than double the 4.05 lh acreage the previous year, production is estimated to double than in 2019-2020.
As per the JAU report, chana accounts for around 45 per cent of total pulses produced in India and the country imports as well as exports this crop in substantial quantities. “India imported 1.86 lh gram in 2018-19 and increased to 3.71 lt in 2019-20 and also exported 1.34 lt,” it notes, adding total pulses production in India in 2020-21 is estimated to be 244.2 lt, slightly higher than 230.3 lt the previous year. But the production this year is marginally higher than the total domestic consumption requirement of 242 lt.
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