India taps Mozambique for five-year pulses contract

New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) Faced with recurring demand-supply issues vis-a-vis pulses, India has requested Mozambique to consider if it can supply ‘tur’ dal for the next five years on a government-to-government basis.

Food Ministry sources said the offer was made by a high-level official delegation led by Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande that visited the eastern African nation recently.

Even as the government has increased the buffer stock of pulses, resulting in a modest drop in their wholesale prices, the pulses in the domestic markets are retailing at over Rs 190 per kg due to a shortfall in local output.

India has offered to buy tur dal at a minimum support price (MSP) plus carrying and transportation cost, the source said.

The MSP of tur dal has been fixed at Rs 5,050 per quintal, which includes a bonus of Rs 200 for 2016-17 crop year (July-June).

Mozambique produces around 70,000 tonnes of pulses, including tur, annually.

India, meanwhile, is also negotiating with Myanmar for long-term supply of tur at similar rates. Myanmar is yet to respond to India.

There has been an estimated shortfall of around six million tonnes in domestic pulse production this year.

The demand for pulses in India is estimated at about 23.5 million tonnes as against an output of about 17.06 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year (July-June), which is marginally lower than last year’s figure of 17.15 million tonnes.

A high-level delegation led by Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande and comprising senior officials from the ministries of commerce and agriculture and Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India visited Mozambique last week to explore both short-and long-term steps to import pulses from the African nation.

About 1.30 lakh tonnes of pulses were seized from hoarders in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi and other parts of northern India recently.

“Hoarding is a hard fact and it is reported from parts of north India, including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. So far, adequate actions have been taken in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu,” an official said last week.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Income Tax Department and local police have been conducting raids on shops, establishments and warehouses suspected to be hoarding pulses to take advantage of the high prices, informed sources said.



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