Tur prices rise on low stocks, sluggish sowing

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Tur dal prices are expected to be at elevated levels in the next couple of months because of low domestic stocks and sluggish kharif sowing, traders said.

According to department of consumer affairs, the modal retail prices of tur on Saturday was Rs 140/kg, a rise of 27% since early January.

Imports of the pulses variety from African countries Malawi and Mozambique are expected to arrive next month. Along with this, the progress of kharif sowing in Maharashtra and Karnataka would be crucial for future price movements, traders said.

Retail inflation in tur or arhar in June, 2023 stood at 27.5%, from 10.9% in January thus pushing up overall inflation in “pulses and products” category to double digit level of 10.9% last month for the first time since last year.

“The sowing of tur has to catch up in the next couple of weeks, which is currently well below the last year level,” Parag Gadre, board adviser to India pulses and grains association (IPGA), told FE.

According to the agriculture ministry, the sowing has been down by 38% at 1.7 million hectare (MH) so far on year.

Monsoon rainfall in Maharashtra and Karnataka, which contribute about 65% of the country’s tur production, have been deficient by 20% and 25% respectively against the benchmark-long period average.

“On the import front, recent rains in Malawi and Mozambique could result in high moisture content for the early harvest crop,” Harsha Rai , Head, Mayur Global Corporation, leading firm dealing with pulses trade, said. Rai said shipments of pigeon peas from Malawi and Mozambique are expected to begin from July end to August for Indian ports.

The mandi prices of tur at Latur, Maharashtra is currently ruling around Rs 10,000/ quintal against the Minimum Support Price of Rs 7,000 quintal for 2023-24 season (July-June).

Under the price stabilisation fund, the farmers cooperative NAFED will commence selling through e-auction around 50,000 tonne of tur on Tuesday from its buffer stock of around 0.15 MT. To improve domestic supplies, the government had imposed stock holding limits on the pulses variety along with urad in May.

The agriculture ministry has estimated a marginal increase in output of tur for 2022-23 crop year (July-June) at 4.35 million tonne (MT) compared to 4.32 MT in the previous crop year. It has around 16% share in the country’s pulses production of 27.75 MT in 2022-23.

However, the trade sources have pegged the output of tur at around 3.5 MT for the year because unseasonal rains in October had adversely impacted standing crops in the key producing state of Maharashtra.

The country imported 0.84 MT and 0.89 MT of tur respectively in FY22 and FY23.

To curb hoarding and speculation amid rising prices, the government in May had imposed limits on the stocks of tur and urad dal. The stock limit is applicable to a range of entities such as wholesalers to retailers, millers and importers. The order will be effective till October 31.

Officials said that the consumer affairs department is closely monitoring the stock position of tur and urad through a stock disclosure portal which has been reviewed on a weekly basis with state governments.

Under the bilateral agreement signed in 2021, India has committed to import 0.25 MT urad and 0.1 MT tur annually from Myanmar between 2021-22 and 2025-26. Same year, India entered into a MoU with Malawi for the annual import of 0.05 MT tur till 2025.

India signed an MoU with Mozambique for import of 0.2 MT of tur annually for five years when the retail prices of tur skyrocketed to Rs 200 a kg in 2016. This MoU was extended for another five years in September 2021.

Imports from all the three least developed countries are exempted from import duties.


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