Updated: March 4, 2021 7:00:45 pm
Ahead of elections in four states, prices of urad dal have posed a major concern with supplies being severely constrained at wholesale markets. Traders said the coup in Myanmar has stopped the supply line of imports reaching Indian markets, which would have cooled prices down. On Thursday, the central government announced a 4-lakh tonne import quota of the lentil for the next financial year.
Mainly a kharif crop, Indian growers reported 33.38 lakh hectares for the 2020 kharif. Heavy rain towards the end of August, however, adversely affected the chances of a good harvest with Madhya Pradesh — the largest producer of the crop — reporting extensive damage.
After a brief slump due to the Covid-19 lockdown led to a demand destruction, wholesale prices of urad crossed government-declared minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 6,000 per quintal across the country. Prices of urad dal — a staple in south Indian delicacies such as dosa — have hovered around Rs 100 per kg for most part of the season.
With around 1 lakh tonne of import yet to reach India, the supply chain was severely impacted as the military coup in Myanmar put a stop to shipment.
Nitin Kalantari, a Latur-based dal miller and trader, said Myanmar was the only country other than India that produces the lentil. “This is the harvest season there, but the military coup in the country has completely stopped all shipments coming from there,” he said.
At present, prices of urad dal across the country have crossed the Rs 100 per kg mark with south Indian states reporting an average price of Rs 120. At main wholesale markets of the country, urad is now trading at Rs 6,700 to Rs 6,800 per quintal.
Kalantari and other traders have ruled out any price correction in the near future till the situation in Myanmar settles down. Ahead of elections, especially in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, this can come as a surprise to many.
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