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Gram prices may hover around MSP, agri varisty advises farmers to sell upon harvest

THE DEPARTMENT of agricultural economics (DAE) of the Jamnagar Agricultural University predicted that production of gram in India this year will be higher than the domestic demand and therefore has advised farmers to sell their crop upon harvest as prices may hover around the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 5,230 per quintal.

“Based on the econometric analysis and production reports, it is concluded that the prices of gram during March to April, 2022 at harvest, may remain in the range of Rs 900 to 1,000 per 20 kg (4500 to 5000 Rs/qtl). Hence, farmers are suggested to sell gram upon harvest (at MSP centers in APMCs), without going for storage,” a price forecast report released by the DAE of the JAU Wednesday said.

”Owing to higher production of total pulses, particularly gram in country; there is (sic) less chances for gram price to go up in future. However, MSP will provide good support to market,” the report added.
The gram price forecast report has been prepared by Maganlal Dhandhlya, an associate research scientist with DAE and his team by analysing government data about gram sowing in 2021-22 Rabi season and productions estimates.

The team also analysed global scenario of this commodity, exports-imports data of the central government and price trends of gram in agricultural produce market committees of Dahod, Rajkot and Gondal—all major wholesale mandis for this pulse crop.

The report notes that farmers have been bringing more and more area under gram cultivation over the last decade, hence gram acreage in the country touched 114 lakh hectare (lh) as compared to 83 lh in 2011-12.
Citing the Second Advance Estimates of the central government released last month, the report estimates gram production in the country will top at 269.6 lakh tonnes (lt)_in 2021-22.

This estimated production will be all time high in India and about 12 lakh tonnes higher as compared last year’s to 254.6 lh production. Of the 12 lt additional production in the country this season, Gujarat will contribute 10 lt as the state is set to harvest more than 24 lt gram compared to 14.38 lh the previous year.

“It (estimated production this year) is quite higher than our total consumption requirement of around 245 lakh tonnes… India imported 3.71 lakh tonnes gram in 2019-20 but it decreased to 2.95 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 and also exported 1.59 lakh tonnes… In current year from April- December, 2021 about 1.80 lakh tonnes gram and 20.47 lakh tonnes of total pulses has been imported in the country,” the report records.

“Hence, the gram price which was ruling around Rs 800 per 20 kg in April, 2020 increased to about Rs 960 per 20 kg in April, 2021. Then after it remained around this level with slight ups and down till current February, 2022 in various markets of Gujarat, now expected remain at this level with slight ups and down in current year too,” the report further said.

Dhandhlya said that despite surplus production, prices of gram will remain firm thanks to Central government’s plans to procure this pulse crop directly from farmers at MSP of Rs 5,230 which is Rs130 higher as compared to the previous year.

“In crop year 2020-21, a total of 6.28 lakh tonnes of gram was procured by NAFED in country including 1.48 lakh tonnes from Gujarat (i.e. about 10.32% of total production). This year, the government procurement is likely to go up 20 percent of the total crop. The government intervention will keep gram prices firm in open markets also,” Dhandhlya told The Indian Express.

Incidentally, central government began procuring gram from farmers of Gujarat through NAFED Tuesday with Agriculture Minister Raghavji Patel stating that the Union government has sanctioned procurement quota of 4.65 lt from Gujarat and that the quota was likely to be increased later in the marketing season.

Dhandhalya said that gram prices in international markets are ruling around Rs6000 to Rs6500 per quintal and at that rate, Indian gram may not be very competitive. “However, premium quality gram do get exported and we expect that millers will purchase bulk of gram from market,” said
the scientist.

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