Monday, August 22, 2011

Tur rates slide but consumers still pay more for the dal-TIMES OF INDIA

Tur rates slide but consumers still pay more for the dal

NAGPUR: Consumers may still be shelling out as much Rs 70 a kg for tur dal which cost over Rs 100 two years ago. But, for farmers the crop continues to be a nightmare as they are getting hardly Rs 12 to 28 for a kg of tur whole (raw pulses). The huge gap indicates how the traders are profiting at the cost of the farmer and common man.

At the current level, the lowest grade of tur whole fetches a rate which is less than half of the minimum support price of Rs 3,000 per quintal (Rs 30 a kg) declared by the government. At the same time, in some market yards the rates have been capped at Rs 2,400.

Ironically, the MSP only remains in paper as procurement centres have not been set up at all, alleged farm activists.

The rates of tur whole have seen bouts of major declines after touching a peak of Rs 6,500 a quintal and that of tur dal - the edible form - scraping Rs 100 a kg mark. The major decline was seen in April this year when the commodity was priced between Rs 1800 to 3200, coming down from Rs 4,000-4,500 in December 2010. Now, when there has been a further decline, the retail prices have not still receded. "In fact, there was a marginal increase of Rs 2 in retail prices," said trade sources.

Even as the government has declared a MSP of Rs 3,000 a quintal, no procurement centres have been set up. "This has given a free hand to the private traders who for some time kept the rates above the level and brought it down to Rs 2800 soon," said Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS).

In Vidarbha, the National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation had opened a center in June only for a single day. In some places it was on June 13 and June 17.

Myanmar, the major country from where India imports Tur, last week cut the export duty on the commodity from 7% to 2%. "This has brought down the landed price of the imported variety to almost Rs 2,800 a quintal and further reduced the demand for the indigenous crop," added Tiwari.

The rates are expected to improve by March next year only. The fresh crop arrives in December with which the rates will ease. "An improvement can only be expected by the Holi festival next year when the stocks would begin to decline," said Pratap Motwani, the secretary of the Wholesale Grain and Seeds Merchants Association.

Experts say that such a huge difference between raw tur sold in market yards and the tur dal available in retail outlets defies logic.

The overheads for processing one quintal of tur whole is around Rs 900 no matter what the quality is. With the peak rates of the pulses in raw form being pegged at Rs 2800, dal should not cost more than Rs 45 to Rs 50 a kg even after adding the transportation expenses and the traders' margin of profit. "But the current rates of Rs 70 are beyond any rationale. The inferior grades are available for Rs 50 and 60 a kg which should have been lower," said Tiwari.

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