Empowering India: Pulse Cultivation for Self-Reliance

Assortment of pulses showcasing India's self-reliance in cultivation
Empowering India: Pulse Cultivation for Self-Reliance

The Indian government has introduced a new policy aimed at bolstering the domestic cultivation of pulses such as lentils, with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency and reducing the country's reliance on annual imports. This initiative seeks to incentivize farmers to prioritize pulse cultivation over traditional crops like wheat and rice.

Key Details of the Scheme:

Five-Year Price Assurance:

Under the leadership of Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, government agencies such as the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and the National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) will engage in five-year contracts with farmer collectives. These contracts ensure procurement at pre-determined Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for pulses, offering financial security to farmers.

Replacing Acreage of Wheat/Rice:

The program targets the reallocation of agricultural land traditionally dedicated to wheat and rice cultivation towards pulses and oilseeds. By providing financial de-risking mechanisms, the government encourages farmers to explore new crops, thus diversifying agricultural practices.

Developing Domestic Capacity:

India currently relies heavily on imports, particularly of lentils, pigeon peas, and black gram. By focusing on enhancing domestic production capacity, the government aims to diminish import bills and associated vulnerabilities gradually.

Roadmap for Urad and Tur:

Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda has outlined plans for large-scale demonstration projects, commencing from the 2023 Kharif season, to educate farmers on techniques to improve yields of Urad and Tur dals. The objective is to achieve self-sufficiency in these pulses by 2027.

Exponential Production Growth:

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal highlighted India's remarkable progress in pulses production, which surged from 170 Lakh tonnes in 2014 to 270 Lakh tonnes in 2023, showcasing a 60% increase in just a decade. Moreover, pulses procurement under MSP prices has grown 18-fold during the same period, with significant MSP hikes aligned with cultivation costs and inflation indexes.

Price Support Hike:

To further support pulse cultivation, MSP rates for all pulses have witnessed substantial increments, ensuring fair returns to farmers and incentivizing increased production.

International Collaboration:

Recognizing the importance of diversifying import sources, India is collaborating with countries like Brazil and Argentina for urad imports, mitigating the risks associated with dependence on a single country.

About NAFED and NCCF:

NAFED and NCCF play crucial roles as apex organizations within India's cooperative network, promoting farmer producer organizations and facilitating the procurement of agricultural commodities. Their efforts contribute to stabilizing crop prices and safeguarding farm incomes across rural India.

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