As drought threatens to affect the yield of agricultural produce across the country, prices of lentils, which have been steady for months, have started increasing.
Tur, moong and urad are among the major kharif crops in Maharashtra and their yields have been affected due to the drought. The worst affected are districts in Marathwada, where most of the pulses in the state are produced. As arrivals of pulses dip in the wholesale markets, its effects are being felt in wholesale and retail markets.
In Pune’s wholesale markets, tur daal is selling at Rs 68-69 per kg, while moong, urad, and chana are priced at Rs 74, 65 and 60 per kg respectively.
At Latur’s marketyard, prices of unmilled pulses have increased over the last few months. The average traded price of moong is at Rs 51.50 per kg, while that of tur is Rs 45.30 per kg and chana is around Rs 42 per kg.
Nitin Nahar, a trader of wholesale grains and pulses in Pune’s wholesale market, said prices have increased by Rs 5-10 per kg. “As arrivals dip further, we expect the prices to rise,” he said.
Nitin Kalantri, CEO of Latur-based Kalantry Foods, a leading miller and trader of pulses, said a price rise was inevitable as supplies from fields dwindle due to the drought. “But the demand will pick up at the retail end as prices of vegetables are still low,” he said.
While Maharashtra has reported a drought, the neighbouring state of Madhya Pradesh, as well as Rajasthan, another major producer of pulses, have not reported moisture stress.
Kalantri said both state governments had ample stock of pulses and this would arrest any major increase in price.
The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation has 23 lakh tonnes of chana, 1.9 lakh tonnes of masoor, 6 lakh tonnes of tur and around 50,000 tonnes of urad and moong. This stock of pulses would keep prices within a reasonable range, said Kalantri.