Nagpur: As the rates for tur dal spiralled this year to such an extent that the government was forced to levy 10% import duty on tur. However the move has not brought any respite to farmers reeling under low tur rates. The duty has been levied in a bid to make imports costlier, so that domestic rates also increase.
Farmers are not even able to get minimum support price (MSP), fixed at Rs5050 a quintal. Market rates of tur at present are in the range of Rs4100 to 4200 per quintal in open market. Government procurement centres that are buying at MSP are already clogged. The centres are run by National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED).
Tur is the raw material which is processed into tur dal in mills. In March last week, government had imposed the duty on wheat and tur. Rates of tur improved by Rs500 a quintal, only to slide a few days later. Again tur is being sold for Rs4100 a quintal as against the MSP of Rs5050.
There is not much to cheer for consumers as the retail price remains stable at Rs70 to 80 a kg. After the dip, it is Rs56 to 72 a kg at whole sale markets.
Pratap Motwani, Secretary of The Itwari Grain and Seeds Merchants Association, said prices have receded to earlier level. “The lemon tur variety imported from Myanmar is back to Rs4100 to 4200 and the domestic tur is also available up to Rs4200 a quintal,” he said.
There is a little chance of rates to improve now. Chana (chickpea), which is also a source of making dal, may get costlier. Chana dal rates are at Rs90 a kg which may cross Rs110. It is because last year’s carry forward stock has been depleted, he said.
“A 10% duty is too less to make any impact. Imported dal has once again gained parity with the domestic variety. The rates may have been reduced in international market after the duty was imposed. Maybe Indian importers are being given credit so that the interest cost is not incurred, and rates are kept low. There is enough supply abroad too” said Vijay Jawandhia, a farm activist.
Jawandhia alleged that the government procurement centres have a slow process and many farmers are preferring to sell their produce even at low price in the open market. “Even I ended up selling tur from my field at Rs4300 in the open market,” he said.
Kishore Tiwari, the director of Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavalamban Mission (VNSSM), a state government task force on agriculture, said procurement at NAFED centres has doubled the quota. However, there have been certain lapses like shortage of gunny backs to procure the pulses which is slowing down the process. THE VNSSM has demanded that the centre should provide additional funds for MSP procurement.