Experts urge govt to revisit duty structure on lentils, chickpeas

19 May 2021 | News

IPGA, Pulse Australia, Austrade co-host webinar to discuss key factors like production, demand-supply scenario, etc. in India and Australia

India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), the nodal body for India’s pulses trade and industry co-hosted a webinar on chickpeas and lentils along with Pulse Australia and Austrade under the aegis of ‘THE IPGA KNOWLEDGE SERIES’. IPGA organised the webinar as a part of the Australian Government’s Australia India Business Exchange (AIBX) programme.

The Indian overview on Lentils was presented by Anurag Tulshan, Managing Director – Esarco Exim and IPGA – East Zone Convenor and Australian overview by Nick Poutney, Director – Pulse Australia. The overview on Indian chickpeas was presented by Nirav Desai, Managing Partner – GGN Research and Australian overview by Peter Wilson, Managing Director – Wilson International Trade. The webinar was attended by about 600 participants from across the world with a majority being from India and Australia. 

Saurabh Bhartia, Senior Trader, Viterra India, IPGA and GPC Executive Committee Member said, “The share of Australian lentils in India’s import has been 10-15 per cent over the last seven-eight years and almost 80-90 per cent of its chickpeas’ requirements came from Australia till December 2017. However, the 66 per cent import duty imposed by the Government of India has made it difficult to import from Australia resulting in these imports dropping to almost zero. In 2021, all pulses in India are trading above minimum support price and government stocks have hit a low. Both show we definitely have issues in our production of pulses in the last Kharif and Rabi seasons.”

Tulshan said, “The current supply and demand situation is tight. The government needs to come forward and make some changes with regard to the duty structure, so as to get in more cargo because going forward, from the month of July until December 2021, we are going to need to import at least 500,000 tonnes of lentils.”

Poutney opined that while the Indian government may be overestimating their lentils production, the Australian government may be underestimating the Australian lentils production. The Australian government is underestimating Australian lentils production.  

Desai mentioned, “The overall chickpeas production in India has been below average majorly due to poor yields in MP and Rajasthan and Gujarat is the only state that has had higher production. But Gujarat has relatively fewer acres under chickpeas production, just 800,000 compared to bigger states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.” 

Wilson while giving an overview of Australia’s Chickpeas scenario said, “In Australia, we grow desi chickpeas on deep subsoil moisture. The very good moisture levels that we have had in Northern Australia for the last few months have given us ideal seedling conditions for crops in the northern North-eastern cropping zone. So, we don't share the same issues that are currently facing lentil producers in Southern Australia.”

 

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