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Green gram price slump brings in a tale of agony and ecstasy

NEW DELHI,SUDHIR SURYAWANSHI : The retail consumer can heave a sigh of relief. The price of green gram (moong daal) has crashed to Rs 40-45 per kg from Rs 80 per kg a month. Without doubt, it’s good news. However, it has put the farmers, who were eyeing higher profits, in a quandary. According to the government, it was bumper produce of pulses this year that led to the reduction in prices.

Nanasaheb Patil, Shetkari Kriti Samiti president, says: “Whenever farmers take their produce to the market, prices go down and start increasing only when the stock declines. Either way, we are always at the receiving end.”

“Adding to our worries, the central government imported 90,000 tonnes of pulses this year, causing rates to crash further since it entails the government to buy the produce at the minimum support price, which is Rs 5,225 per quintal,” he said.

“This year, we reaped a good harvest and was looking at the government to take this opportunity to implement measures to bring us relief,” added Tukaram Patil, a trader and farmer from Dhule.

“India is the largest pulse-producing country, yet the government imports large quantities every year from Canada, Australia and African countries to bridge the gap in supply. If the government would implement measures to levy 20-30% taxes on import, lift the ban on export of pulses and subsidise it instead, it will help us immensely and regulate the price of our produce for the better. If steps are not taken soon, green gram producers will meet with the same fate as that of onion producers,” he added.

Last year, 2.12 million tonnes of pulses were produced, which is expected to rise to 3.75 million tonnes this year. Sanjay Patil, a farmer from Jalgaon, said that, last year, he took to onion farming, hoping to make a handsome profit. The rates of the crop plummeted and made him grow pulses.

“I am really disappointed. We are suffering due to abysmal prices,” Patil whined.