IPGA says focus must be on production, not just rise in MSP
New Delhi, Feb. 3 (IANS): India needs to enhance the production and not just focus on increasing the minimum support price (MSP) on pulses every time as it hurts the consumers in the long run, said Bimal Kothari, Vice Chairman of India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA).
“As of now our productivity is really low in comparison to international levels,” Kothari said.
Doubling farmers’ income too can be attained by increasing productivity. “Crops like pulses and edible oil seeds require special attention, because India has been importing them. Though the production of pulses has definitely been given a boost, still, we are importing about 2.5 million tons of pulses annually.”
India’s pulses demand will be around 30 to 33 million tonnes, he predicted.
Besides, the move to use drones in the farm sector, as announced in the Budget, will allow the industry to estimate the production and understand the crop losses accurately besides spraying insecticides in the field, he added.
“Not just the farmers but even the government will benefit from this drone scheme. Many times we are unable to get accurate numbers of production, whereas government policies are totally dependent and designed based on these numbers. Getting the most accurate numbers related to production and losses will immensely benefit government, trading associations and farmers.”
While welcoming the Centre’s high procurement of agri produce at MSP, he recommended more focus to be provided on purchasing of oilseeds and pulses.
“In the pulses sector there has been significant procurement in the last three to four years, but this needs to be enhanced more and buffer stocks need to be created as it’s being done in case of wheat and paddy.”
Higher procurement will help in intervening by the Centre in controlling the prices when the production gets affected due to unavoidable events, he added.
“This is more important in the pulses sector because pulses production of other origin is much less than our requirements or shortfalls.”
India is evidently the largest population of vegetarians and pulses fulfill the large part of protein requirement for the masses.
Lately, the Centre has shown strong interest in raising the domestic output of pulses and edible oils and also took various initiatives as part of its self-sufficiency goal.
Even though India is a major producer of pulses and edible oils, its domestic consumption outstrips the production, which pushes the country to import such commodities from other nations.