MUMBAI: After a record high of 5.67 million tonnes in 2016-17, representing a 19.9 per cent increase over the previous year, import of pulses is expected to decline this year, by up to 20 per cent.
In FY17, the domestic output of pulses stood at 22.14 million tonnes, against a normal annual consumption of 24 million tonnes. However, 2015-16 was a drought year and the output was only 16.35 million tonnes. Pravin Dongre, chairman, India Pulses and Grains Association (Ipga), said: "Last year, importers had placed huge orders at the beginning of the sowing season which they then had to honour (even after the crop turned out to be better)."
Dongre said a little over half the import (2.93 million tonnes) was of yellow peas (matar), which isn't grown much in India. Chana (brown chickpea), at 880,000 tonnes, was another big component. When reports of higher crop started coming in, import of tur (split red gram) was reduced."
India produced 4.23 million tonnes of tur in 2016-17 and import was 447,000 tonnes, a little over 10 per cent of the production, as per Ipga data. Two-fifth of that import was in the December quarter and inward shipments fell 24 per cent in the next quarter, due to better domestic availability.