The Agriculture Ministry will soon move aCabinet note for lifting the 8-year long ban on export ofpulses to arrest fall in domestic prices that are ruling below the MSP level on expectations of higher output.
Export of pulses, except for kabuli chana, was initially prohibited for six months in 2006. It was then extended from time-to-time up to March 31, 2014.
“To protect farmers from sharp fall in domestic prices, we are soon moving a Cabinet note on lifting the export ban on pulses,” a senior Agriculture Ministry official told PTI.
The ministry is mulling over allowing export of pulses without “quantitative restrictions” and placing the commodity under the open general licence category on the lines of sugar, wheat and rice, the official said.
Such a move is necessary to contain further fall in domestic pulses prices, which are ruling below the minimum support price (MSP) levels in most parts of the country on expectations of a bumper crop, the official added.
An industry body has also sought the removal of ban on pulses export to balance the domestic market prices so that with better prices farmers are encouraged to grow pulses in the coming years.
The ministry is expecting a record pulses production at 19 million tonnes in 2013-14, as against 18.45 million tonnes last year, as good monsoon in rainfed areas has boosted crop prospects.
The demand is estimated to be around 21.77 million tonnes for the same period. The gap would be met through imports. The country’s annual pulses imports have normally been in the range of 3-3.5 million tonnes. Higher production is expected to bring down imports in 2013-14.