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Gujarat-based millers see red on lower pulses acreage

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Gujarat-based millers, engaged in processing of pulses, are likely to face input cost pressure due to increasing dependence on imported raw materials including tur (). Mounting concerns of a fall in acreage of tur and other pulses in the state are forcing these millers to look for raw material supplies from other states as well as imports from African countries.

According to industry sources, pulses supplies from other state would put an additional cost burden of Rs 3-5 per kg.

“Supplies from other states has been hampering our profit margins as they are costlier by at least Rs 3 per kg from the local raw material. But with a fall in tur acreage in the state, we have to depend on supplies from other states as well as imports," said Mitesh Patel, managing director of Laxmi Protein Products, based in Vasad.

Tur acreage in Gujarat during Kharif season this year has fallen by about 40-45 per cent at about 195,000 hectares against about 270,000 hectares recorded last year.

"State's dal millers require about 2 million bags (each bag of 100 kg) of tur for crushing, but a large volume is either imported or sourced from other states. This is hampering our profitability," said Maganbhai Mehta from Shivling . Transport cost from other states ranges between Rs 125 to 150 per quintal.

Mehta, who is also president of Gujarat Dal Manufacturer's Association further informed that a meeting of all dal makers will be convened during October 11-13 at Mount Abu to discuss about the future strategy and raise their voice towards encouraging pulses production in the country.

"We have to depend on imports from African countries like Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania as well as Burma. While climatic extremities in these countries would land us in shortfall in availability. This should not happen, we must increase our domestic availability of pulses. For this, we will take state government's assistance to approach Centre to take up our issues," Mehta said.

Gujarat has a large number of dal crushing units spread in clusters at Vasad, Padra and Dahod near Vadodara while one in Himmatnagar in north Gujarat. The units source raw tur from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Looking at the dismal acreage scenario, dal makers anticipate prices of dals to rise from November onwards.

“Currently, quality tur dal costs about Rs 58-60 per kg in wholesale market. This is almost a bottom level of prices in recent past. A fall in acreage will indicate a shortfall in domestic supplies, this would result in increased imports. Hence, we are anticipating a price rise of about 10-15 per cent from November onwards," said Patel.

According to industry estimates, India's pulses production during the current Kharif season is likely to fall by about 10 per cent to 6.43 million tonnes against 7.12 million tonnes last year.

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