Pulses are mainstay of Indian cuisines and are the major sources of protein to the largely vegetarian population in India.

Four states namely Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu cumulatively account for 15-20 per cent of total pulses production in the country.

High price

Being such an important food item that provides vital proteins to millions, its production and availability is skewed, resulting in scarcity and high price leading to intervention by both Federal & State Governments to ensure its adequate availability.

In the backdrop of endemic shortages, stagnant production and spiralling prices of pulses (Dal) in India, the two-day ‘Hyderabad Pulses Conclave 2010' co-sponsored by ICRISAT and Agriwatch, called for increasing production of pulses by two million tonnes as envisaged by the National Food Security Mission, Government of India.

Inaguration

The Conclave was formally inaugurated by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) Director General William D. Dar at the ICRISAT Campus in Patancheru, Hyderabad, India.

Calling for increasing pulses production to meet the nutritional needs of the poor, Dr Dar said, “India needs to mobilize innovations and delivery and support systems to ensure that these pulses are sufficiently produced locally. Our battle cry and our shared goal should be that India should be self-sufficient in pulses.”

Mr. N. Raghuveera Reddy, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Andhra Pradesh assured that the Government will not hesitate in providing farmers with necessary extension support and timely availability of inputs, besides creating a transparent marketing infrastructure.”

Long standing problem

“Shortage of pulses is a long standing, multi-dimensional problem and we are heading for a disaster as pulses are designed for survival and not growth such as cereals,” said Mr. R Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director, Tata Sons.

Agriwatch Chairman Mr. N.V. Ramana said that the conclave is a significant attempt to bring under one roof research specialists, policy makers and traders to draw a road map for self sufficiency in pulses.

The conclave attracted a large number of stakeholders such as policy makers, researchers, traders and millers, NGOs and seed producers.