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Retail tur dal prices hit Rs 125/kg as India opens up import

Date: 15-10-2020
Subject: Retail tur dal prices hit Rs 125/kg as India opens up import
Pune: After India opened up the import of tur dal, prices in Myanmar jumped more than a fifth in a day as importers have to ensure landing of their shipments within a tight schedule of 32 days. Traders and pulses processors believe that unless the government increases the selling the stocks it holds, prices may continue to rise as there is supply shortage.

The retail tur dal prices crossed the psychological barrier of Rs 100/kg and touched Rs 125/kg for the top quality, with millers reporting shortage of the raw material (whole unskinned tur beans). The Centre on October 13 allowed import of restricted quantities of tur until November 15, while it also extended the last date to import urad to March 31.

The last date of urad import had expired on August 31.

India's decision to import tur has led to increase in prices in Myanmar, which increased from about $ 650/tonne to $800/tonne. Locally, wholesale prices reversed from Rs 125/kg to Rs 105/kg in Akola, a major centre of tur dal processing in the country. India has been importing tur from Mozambique under a government-to-government agreement. However, industry veterans say that the variety from the African country is not preferred by a majority of the consumers.

Given that the country is likely to reap a bumper harvest of tur, the government has been reluctant to allow its import. Hence, the licences to import the quota allocated to the dal millers in April were not issued until now. Spiraling local prices may not be permanently reversed as the import window is rather narrow.

Suresh Aggarwal, president, All India Sal Millers Association said: “It is impossible to import tur in 32 days as issuing licences will take at least a week. Hardly 10% of the quota can be imported during this time frame. Hence we have written to the Prime Ministee to increase the time limit to March 31.”

So, any price decline will likely be temporary.

"As imports will take time to come, tur shortages will continue unless supplies increase in the open market and can lead to further rise in tur prices," said Rupesh Rathi, one of the biggest processors of tur in the country.

It is going to be a short window of shortages, which coincides with the biggest festival season of the country. "Arrival of the domestic harvest will begin from the first week of December, which means that the government has to manage the situation only for a period of 45 days. During the 15 days of Diwali, milling activities are on the lower side, reducing demand for the raw material. Thus, we need to tackle the shortages for a period of only 30 days. If Nafed issues tenders for tur sales on an immediate basis and also begins its sales, it can help control rising prices and make raw material available for the millers," said Rathi.

While industry and the government are trying to augment supplies, farm leaders are worried that the imports should not bring the prices below what’s mandated as the minimum to support cultivators.


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