Staff Reporter

Tamil Nadu Agricultural University's study forecasts higher profits in June

Imports from Myanmar likely to push whole sale prices to Rs. 27 in April and Rs. 25 in May Prices expected to increase during June or mid July India's pulses production likely to touch 14 million tonnes in 2006-07

Coimbatore: Scientists at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) have advised farmers in Tamil Nadu to hold their stocks of black gram till May and market the produce in June to earn higher profits.

In a release here, K. Palanisami, Director, Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development Studies (CARDS) at the University said the Domestic and Export Market Intelligence Cell (DEMIC) of CARDS had carried out a detailed study in response to several queries from black gram growers in the State. Black gram was commonly known as urad, urd or black matpe.

Stable demand

Cultivators wanted to know whether their produce would fetch a higher price now owing to better crop prospects in 2006-07 or whether to store the new produce and sell at a higher price in lean months.

Analysis by the DEMIC team had indicated that the stable demand for black gram and good prospects for the 2006-07 rabi crop and imports from Myanmar were likely to push wholesale prices to Rs. 27 in April and Rs. 25 in May. Prices were expected to increase during June or mid July.

Prediction

For the past 12 years the wholesale prices of black gram at Chennai and Virudhunagar had been used for the purpose of price prediction, because the two markets reflected the overall price for black gram in Tamil Nadu.

Market sources said except during festival seasons, demand for black gram was stable but that the demand exceeded the supply level (from domestic production) so the Government had permitted unrestricted import of pulses on payment of lower import duties, through Chennai Port.

Major trading centres

In Tamil Nadu the major black gram trading centres were Virudhunagar, Madurai, Salem, Chennai and Tuticorin. Virudhunagar was the biggest centre. Traders procured black gram from the Cauvery delta regions during March and April, and later purchased the locally harvested crop at Kovilpatti.

Sometimes, traders would outsource black gram from Andhra Pradesh during February and March. During the August - September off-season, traders would outsource black gram from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka.

Seasons

In Tamil Nadu, black gram was cultivated in four seasons: kharif (June - July), rabi (`Purattasipattam', September - October), rice fallow pulses (January - February) and summer (February - March).

Black gram occupied 34.6 per cent of the total area under pulses during 2003-04 in Tamil Nadu. It was cultivated extensively in Cuddalore (17 per cent), Nagapattinam (15), Villupuram (13), Thiruvarur (9), Tirunelveli (7), Thiruvannamalai (6) and Tuticorin (5).

Total area

These districts together accounted for 71.3 per cent of the total area under the crop during 2003-04 in Tamil Nadu.

During December 2005 unexpected floods occurred in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu damaging stored pulses and leading to upward pressure on the wholesale price in January and February early this year.

Imports of pulses

However, market sources indicated that India's pulses production could touch 14 million tonnes for 2006-07, with much of the increase coming from the rabi season crops owing to a 6.5 per cent expansion in sown area.

Sources in the pulses processing industry estimated that imports of pulses could touch 1.8 million tonnes, compared to an estimated 1.6 million tonnes in 2005-06.

Uncertainty

These two factors had created uncertainty among black gram growers in the State, with traders uncertain about storage of pulses owing to the anticipated import of pulses from Myanmar.

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