Sunday, August 6, 2017

Centre caps import of arhar to arrest falling prices

NEW DELHI: The government on Saturday put a cap on the import of arhar dal at 2 lakh tonnes during this fiscal in its bid to ensure that domestic price of the key lentil does not crash further. Farmers organisations have been demanding this since there is record production of arhar during this year. They have demanded the need to increase the import duty on edible oils, which government is likely to notify soon.In an order issued on Saturday evening, directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) said the import of pigeon peas (arhar) has been "restricted". It said, "Import shall be subject to an annual (fiscal year) quota of 2 lakh metric tonne as per procedure to be notified. The restriction will not apply to government's import commitments under any bilateral/ regional agreement/ MoU."

India's arhar production increased 80% to 4.6 million tonnes in 2016-17.
The issue of private imports still happening came up at a recently inter-ministerial meeting under the chairmanship of finance minister. Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari had pointed out how import of arhar was happening even as Indian farmers are going for distress sale, though top officials had said that the import by private players was minuscule.
Even MPs from opposition parties had pointed to the ongoing import of arhar during the discussion on agrarian crisis in Rajya Sabha.
Pulses traders are expecting DGFT to come out with the procedure to implement the 2 lakh tonne import capping order on Monday. One of the major player said they expect some relief for the quantity of arhar which is in transit and for which the private parties have already entered into agreement.
India  exports pulses 

"What government should do is allow traders to export the pulses from our country. At present, traders who are into the business of importing are allowed to export as well," said Kamlesh Patel, director of Sainath International, a major trading firm in this sector.
While the restriction will help growers of pulses, who had pushed the cultivation this year, it is set to put pressure on countries like Myanmar, Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi, which largely depend on India. India has been the biggest producer, consumer and importer of pulses, particularly arhar in the globe.

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