India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), the nodal body for India’s pulses trade and industry, hosted the Knowledge Series webinar on Desi and Kabuli Chickpeas with over 850 participants from across 25 countries. The webinar extensively covered topics like chickpeas production: India and other major origins, NAFED’s procurement, stock and selling policies, implications of free distribution of chana under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), global and Indian price outlook of chickpeas, chana supply and demand trends, India’s import policy and tariff, Kabuli chana – production and exports.
Delivering his opening remarks, Bimal Kothari, Vice Chairman, IPGA said, “The recently introduced agriculture market reforms have enthused all the agri-commodities value chain participants. The government’s progressive steps to encourage contract farming, developing private markets in addition to the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs), EC Act amendments will boost the morale of the farmers as well as the trade and industry. IPGA is now aiming higher and working towards more production, processing, value addition, consumption and trade. Our focus is on developing new initiatives to further strengthen our activities with the eventual aim of making Indian pulses globally competitive.”
Speaking on the changed chickpeas scenario over a period of time, Dr. NP Singh, Director, Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR) said, “Strong technology development, increased availability of quality seeds supported by favourable government policies have helped bring in a chickpeas revolution in the country which has seen the production groth from a mere 5.60 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 2005-06 (yield of 810 Kgs/Ha) to around 10.90 MMT this year with a yield of 1,067 Kgs/Ha. Chickpeas have played a key role in the realisation of the Pulses Revolution in India making it near self-sufficient in pulses.”
“Given the excellent climatic conditions and increased minimum support price (MSP), the Kharif sowing of Tur, Urad and Moong this year has gone up by about 20 percent and this could lead to a slight drop in acreage for chickpeas. We believe that the demand for pulses is going to increase in coming time. The current requirement is around 28 MMT whereas the production is 24 MMT and despite a bufferstock of 2 MMT, we feel that there will be a shortfall between 2.50 MMT to 5 MMTs next year,” Singh added.
Sunil Kumar Singh, Addl. Managing Director, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) said, “Desi chickpeas will take the centre-stage both from the production and consumption side. NAFED will have no chickpeas stock going into the next season. We have procured large quantities of desi chickpeas over the last three years and have a total stock of close to 3.55 MMT out of which 1.50 MMT will get distributed under the PMGKY programme, about 30 percent will go towards institutional supplies and the balance will go into the open market. The recent policy decisions by the government have provided stability to the market with NAFED currently selling chana in the range of Rs. 4,350 per quintal to Rs. 4,500 per quintal as compared to Rs. 3,800 to Rs. 4,000 per quintal about three months ago.”
Briefing the participants on the current pulses stock position with organisation, the NAFED official said, “We are currently holding 1.84 lakh MTs of Moong, 2.73 lakh MTs of Urad, 8 lakh MTs of Tur and 17,000 MTs of Masoor.
Speaking on the domestic outlook for desi chickpeas, Gaurav Bagdai, Promoter, GP Agri said, “While there was a record seeding of desi chickpeas in 107 lakh hectare, unseasonal rain and the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic caused a loss in yield. We expect the domestic seasonal demand to increase by about 11 percent primarily due to the extension of the PMGKY programme and increase in household consumption. While the current prices are below MSP, given the overall demand situation, we expect the prices in the domestic market to get close to the MSP by September – October 2020.”
Sanjiv Dubey, Director, GrainTrend, Australia said, “Australia is the 2nd largest producer of desi chickpeas in the world after India. After two consecutive years of drought, this year the weather conditions are extremely favourable and we expect a production of 750,000 to 800,000 tonnes of chickpeas. However, like many occasions in the past, there is always the fear of frost at the time of harvest which could lead to some loss in crop. However, if the production stays stable but India does not import, then there will be an export surplus in Australia as other countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, UAE, and Nepal together cannot consume such a large quantity.
“Growers in Australia have sold about 5 to 10 percent of the expected crop as of now and they are under pressure to sell but they are also rather resilient to prices and will hold back if the prices are not good. The prices currently are in the range of USD 475 to USD 500 which we feel is the lowest they will go. But, a lot will also depend on the Indian market and what price levels it will accept including the import duty,” Dubey added.
Speaking about the East African market, Jayesh Patel, Group CEO & Executive Member, Bajrang International Group, UAE, said, “Africa’s chickpeas production has been growing at a 4.10 percent CAGR. With the restrictions imposed by the Indian government on pigeon peas import coupled with the fact that there are no restrictions on chickpeas imports as well as NIL import duty as an LDC nation, a lot of pigeon peas farmers have switched over to chickpeas. The overall pulses exports from East Africa are around 1.50 MMT with chickpeas comprising of around 300,000 to 400,000 MTs. The current prices of African chickpeas are in the USD 580 to USD 600 range.
Navneet Singh Chhabra, Director, Shree Sheela International said, “The overall available quantity of all variety of white chickpeas including Kabuli chickpeas is around 581,000 MTs for 2020 and the overall consumption is expected to be around 115,000 MT for exports and 265,000 MTs for pan-India domestic consumption vis-à-vis 420,000 MTs in the previous year. By the end of January 2021, we expect to have a carry-over stock of about 155,000 MTs, which is extremely low on pan-India basis. The HoReCa (Hotel, Restaurant, Café) sector is the primary consumer of white chickpeas in India while home based consumption is always limited. However, the sector being shut down due to the COVID pandemic has resulted in the fall in consumption.”
“Indian imports of Kabuli chickpeas in 2020 for direct food consumption will be negligible due to the 44 percent import duty, but what is more of concern is the domestic consumption. We expect that once the domestic consumption by the HoReCa sector starts increasing with the easing of lockdown norms, the demands and prices will also start going up and it directly affect the end stocks of 155,000 MT in Jan 2021. We expect the prices to of processed cargo 42-44 AO (12 mm) be around Rs. 80 in the Oct – Dec 2020 period subject to ease of lockdown and full-fledged start of HoReCa sector,” Chhabra added.
Highlighting the Russian Kabuli chickpeas supply and demand scenario, Cem Bogusoglu, Global Head – Pulses Trading, GP Global Group, UAE said, “Russia is a recent entrant in the global Kabuli market. They first started production of Kabuli chickpeas in 2004 with about 5,000 MTs which has grown aggressively over the years to 400,000 MTs this year. However, the Russian farmers have excellent holding capacities and can hold stocks for more than two years. So, if the price is not right, they will not sell. The prices for Russian Kabulis last year was in the range of USD 370 to USD 380 but this year the prices are over USD 400.”
Speaking on the occasion, noted economist, policy commentator and agribusiness specialist, G Chandrashekhar said, “We can see an extremely interesting situation developing on the international level with a keen competition coming up between Australia and Russia. Both nations have a good crop and the prices differ by just about USD 100. Both have extremely strong farmers with a resistance to low prices and the capacity to hold stocks for a long time. However, the Australian farmers are coming out of a two-year drought and need the money. So, how the whole scenario plays out will be interesting to watch.”
Sunil Sawla, Secretary, IPGA in his concluding remarks said, “This webinar was extremely relevant at this point not only to understand the current market trends but also because of the uptick in the local market prices of both desi chickpeas as well as Kabulis. One of the key reasons for that being the negligible availability of yellow peas. The mass procurement of chana will have a three-fold effect on nutrition, better price realisation for the farmers and boost production taking another step towards making India Aatmanirbhar in pulses.”
India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), the nodal body for pulses and grains trade and industry in India has over 400 direct and indirect members which include individuals, corporates as well as regional pulses traders and processors associations taking its pan-India reach to over 10,000 stakeholders involved in the farming, processing, warehousing and import business of pulses across the entire value chain.