Kochi: The quintessential South Indian staple dosa and idli will soon find a place in the pricey food items' list. The prices for snacks like uzhunnu vada and parrippu vada will go up too.
In all likelihood, legumes and pulses like urad dal, toor dal, green gram, brown gram and so on are going to be costly in the coming months. The production of these have seen a decline, whereas the demand is going as steady as ever, which could be the reason for the sudden price rise. In the harvest season this year, the total production of pulses came up to only 173.8 million tonnes. This figure is almost 18.7 million tonne lesser than previous years.
The lack of rains last year and the unpredictable heavy rainfall during March and April this year could have led to the production going down. Every year, the country requires about 40 million tonne pulses to be imported for consumption. But this year, it looks like at least 60-70 million tonnes will need to be imported. This is according to the figures of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
According to another study by ASSOCHAM, there is a recommended daily requirement of 50-60 grams of pulses in India but the current availability of pulses is less than 30 grams per day. The study also highlighted that the declining per capita availability of pulses and likely high prices in 2015 are matters of serious concern on the nutritional security of the nation.
Meanwhile, considering the possibility of a price inflation owing to the drought, the government has decided to step up the import of pulses this year. India is one of the top producers of pulses and the country also happens to have the top consumption rate. When a country like India gears up to import pulses, the demand for the same seems to be shooting up in the world market.
India imports urad dal and green gram from Myanmar, whereas the tuar dal comes in from both Tanzania and Myanmar. The Bengal gram is brought in from Australia and Russia and for green peas, it is Canada and Russia that we turn to. NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) currently has a tuar dal and urad dal stocked up to 22,659 tonnes. The central government had instructed various states to procure this for general trading purposes. So far, only Tamil Nadu has come forward. Tamil Nadu has received around 232 tonnes of tuar dal from NAFED.