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Pulses prices soar on delayed harvest

Vishnu Pandey  |  Kanpur 

The prices of various pulses have climbed in the last few weeks due to the delay in harvest owing to untimely winter rainfall last fortnight. Stockists and retailers have increased prices, trying to make the most out of the sudden shortfall in supply, further exacerbating inflation due to truckers’ strike.

Arhar dal, a major part of which comes from Maharashtra, has witnessed a hike of Rs 700 per quintal touching Rs 4,900 per quintal in the wholesale market of the city. Massor dal prices have also increased by Rs 500 per quintal. The pulses which were selling at Rs 5,100 per quintal four days ago have crossed Rs 5,700 mark.

The Uttar Pradesh Udyog Vyapaar Mandal (UPUVM) president, Gyanesh Mishra told Business Standard that the last rabi harvest of pulses was scant and the supply from Maharashtra has also been insufficient, resulting in short supply. “Similarly, the March harvest from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan has also been delayed due to winter rains which have delayed the harvesting period,” he explained.

The chana dal which sold at Rs 2,500 per quintal is now selling at Rs 2,900. Similar uptrend is being seen in matar dal, urad dal and mung dals. Their prices have witnessed a rise of around 10-20 percent. The market wholesalers say that such hike in prices of arhar and masoor dals has not been witnessed for past ten years.

Expressing fear that prices may still soar by around 25 percent by next month, he called for prompt administrative intervention. “It was only recently that the reduction in vegetable prices had reduced the demand for pulses and the shortfall had failed to get noticed, but now inflation is becoming unmanageable,” said Mishra.

The pulse production in the region has been declining consistently for past ten years despite a number of attempts by the city based Indian Institute of Pulse Research (IIPR), to popularise its cultivation by providing a number of incentives.

The consumer is not alone at the suffering end, but over 1,000 workers have been rendered jobless due to the closure of over 70 dal mills owing to non-availability of raw material. The local production has declined by around 65 per cent from 3,800 tonnes last November to 1,300 tonnes at present closing down over 70 mills out of 155 in last fortnight.

Dal Millera Association president, Pramod Jaiswal told Business Standard that mill owners are on the verge of bankruptcy as they have invested crores of rupees without any returns.

“The wholesalers are not ready to buy the pulses at the present rates as their profits would be hugely reduced. The result is that we do not have any pulses to process,” said Girish Paliwal, secretary of Dal Millers Association.

First Published: Wed, February 04 2009. 00:49 IST