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Pulse Situation and Outlook
Although India is the world’s largest producer of pulses (beans, peas, and lentils), demand for pulses has been outstripping domestic supply, making India a growing importer of pulses. With annual production relatively stable at around 14 million tons, India should continue as a net importer of pulses for several years. Although the government of India (GOI) has recently commissioned a Food Security Mission aimed at increasing production of food grains, including pulses, a significant increase in pulse production appears unlikely given existing production constraints, such as inadequate irrigation, shortage of quality seeds, and stagnant productivity. Thus, there is potential for exports of U.S. pulses to India, provided prices are competitive.

Introduction With a growing population and rising consumer incomes, domestic pulse consumption is growing, estimated at around 16 million tons per annum. With no significant breakthrough in domestic production and rising domestic prices, imports are increasing, reaching around 2.8 million tons in IFY 2006/07. Yellow dry peas, chickpeas and mung beans now account for a major share of imports. The share of U.S. pulses in India’s import balance although relatively small, has also grown significantly from less than 0.2 percent in 2003 to 3 percent in 2006 (Table 1).


India continues to be a major global importer of pulses in the world. As per official Indian government data, the value of pulse imports grew by 71 percent from $497.2 million to $851.2 million during IFY 2003/04 to 2006/07 and in quantity terms from 1.3 million tons to 2.8 million tons (Table 6). Peas, pigeon peas and chickpeas were among the major pulses imported followed by mung beans, black matpe, lentils, and kidney beans. Imports of pulses from the U.S., mostly dry green peas, witnessed significant growth during the last 4 years (Table 6), reaching a record 177,000 tons, valued at $48.4 million in U.S. FY 2006/07, making India the largest market for U.S. pulses. However, Canada continues to be the largest supplier of pulses (mostly yellow peas, green peas, and chickpeas to India on account of larger production, lower prices, and ability to ship pulses in bulk. Most of the U.S. pulse exports to India are in containers. Myanmar, because of its geographic proximity to India and the ability to grow the type of pulses (black gram, red gram, green gram and Kidney beans) that Indians demand, is the second largest supplier, supplying mostly tropical legumes such as black matpe, mung beans, and pigeon peas. The recent political turmoil in Myanmar had some impact on pulse shipments from that country.

The recent significant increase in the price of imported pulses in general, and from North America in particular, and high freight costs have further added to the cost of imported pulses despite a 12 percent appreciation of the Indian rupee against U.S. dollar during the past year. For instance, the price of green and yellow peas imported from Canada and the U.S. have increased to over $500 a ton in recent months, $100-150 a ton more than a year ago. At such high prices there is import resistance, which could dampen pulse imports in the coming months, leading to further shortages and higher domestic prices for pulses.

Another factor which could affect pulse imports from the U.S. as well as from Canada in future is the fumigation requirement for the import of pulses. Effective January 1, 2004, pulse (chickpeas, peas) imports from all origins to India were subject to fumigation by methyl bromide at the port of loading to protect domestic production from stem and bulb nematode, pea cyst nematode, and bruchids, per the Plant Quarantine Regulation of Import into India Order, 2003. In the U.S., methyl bromide is being phased out due to environmental concerns, making it difficult and costly to fumigate pulses with methyl bromide at the port of origin. Unless the fumigation requirement is removed or the waiver extended, pulse exports from North America to India will be in jeopardy, which could further exacerbate the Indian pulse supply situation leading to a further significant rise in domestic pulse prices.
MGR Archive 27.1.2008
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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