Legume Research

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Legume Research, volume 45 issue 5 (may 2022) : 565-572

Dynamics of Production Profile of Pulses in India

Jitender Mohan Singh1,*, Amandeep Kaur1, Shruti Chopra1, Raj Kumar1, M.S. Sidhu1, Poonam Kataria1
1Department of Economics and Sociology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana-141 004, Punjab, India.
  • Submitted04-11-2019|

  • Accepted01-05-2020|

  • First Online 15-07-2020|

  • doi 10.18805/LR-4274

Cite article:- Singh Mohan Jitender, Kaur Amandeep, Chopra Shruti, Kumar Raj, Sidhu M.S., Kataria Poonam (2022). Dynamics of Production Profile of Pulses in India . Legume Research. 45(5): 565-572. doi: 10.18805/LR-4274.
The peculiarity of India’s pulse production scenario highlighted that although India is the largest producer of pulses in the world, its domestic demand outstrips domestic production and the shortfall is met from imports. India imported nearly 5.6 million tons of pulses worth Rs. 18748 crore during 2017-18. The national demand for pulses is increasing as a consequence of increasing population, increasing vegetarianism, measures adopted to tackle the problem of protein energy malnutrition and this necessitates the concerted efforts to increase the production of pulses. Long-term solution to meet demand for pulses lies in increasing the production of pulses in the country which is indeed a challenge for us to ensure supply of pulses as their cultivation is primarily taken up under rain-fed conditions on marginal & sub-marginal lands and is prone to production losses due to moisture stress. The current production scenario of pulses in India reveals that the domestic supply of pulses is nearly capable of meeting the growing demand of its consumers. About 30 million hectares of land is under pulses, producing about 25 million tons annually during 2017-18. Moreover, the realignment of cropping pattern to relatively less water-intensive crops such as pulses in water-scarce areas will have multitude benefits for all.
Pulses are the nutritionally-dense edible seeds of legumes, including lentils and chickpeas, dry peas and beans. The word ‘pulse’ comes from the latin word ‘puls’ meaning thick soup. Pulses, the important food crops grown globally, have high protein content and hence play a key role in in the diet of vast majority of low income and vegetarian population in India. As an important source of protein, they constitute a basic ingredient of many traditional cuisines amongst Indian vegetarian people making their diets more balanced and nutritive (Kumar et al., 2019). Supplemented with cereals, pulses provide a perfect mix of vegetarian protein of high biological value. As per USA Pulses Association, pulses use just one-tenth of the water as compared to that of other proteins. Pulses use only 43 gallons of water to produce 1 lb of pulses as compared to 800-1,800 gallons of water to produce the same amount of animal protein (USA Pulses Association). Pulses are one of the important food crops grown globally having higher protein content.
       
It is pertinent to mention here that pulses carry high nutritive value in terms of sufficient protein, carbohydrates, fibre and adequate quantity of calcium, iron, zinc, folic acid and Vitamin A. Known as health powerhouses, pulses pack a serious punch when it comes to their dietary benefits. It is an established fact that a human body requires a daily intake of about 55 to 60 g of protein. The protein malnutrition and other health indicators like maternal and infant’s mortality rates, anemia etc, is a matter of concern for the government. Nutritious food has direct bearing on health and affects work of the people. Out of the 22 amino acids required in the human diet, the body supplies 14. The remaining eight have to come from food. (Annual Report, 2018).
       
Since the world’s growing population will require a 70 per cent increase in agricultural production by the year 2050, pulses’ low carbon footprint and water and soil efficiency make them the ideal sustainable food of the future (USA Pulses Association). Pulses even though are the most important crops for sustainability of cropping systems owing to their soil enriching properties, farmers tend to allocate their best parcel of land for crops other than pulses, due to low and uncertain yields (Gowda et al., 2013). Also these crops are grown with sub-optimal input applications (Reddy, 2009). These crops are caught in vicious cycle, as farmers do not follow recommended production practices; grow them on marginal lands even without protective irrigation at critical stages leading to low and uncertain productivity, which further compels farmers to grow pulses under sub-optimal conditions or taking a back seat in the cropping pattern. Pulses also witness huge fluctuation in prices depending upon rainfall. Keeping this in view, the Union Government had taken a policy decision to create buffer stock of pulses in the year 2016.
       
The pulses are grown in India under a wide range of agro-climatic conditions; hence it is a major player in pulses globally. India is the largest producer, importer and consumer of pulses, accounting for 25 per cent of global production from 35 per cent of global area under pulses (Ahlawat et al., 2016). During 1960-61, pulses were grown on an area of 23.6 million hectares and production was to the tune of 12.7 million tons in the country. Area under pulses and production has registered an increase of 25.0 per cent and 80.7 per cent respectively over the last 56 years. The area under pulses has increased by 5.9 million hectares from 23.6 million hectares in 1960-61 to 29.5 million hectares in 2016-17. On the contrary, production of pulses in the country has registered an increase of 10.3 million tons from 12.7 million tons in 1960-61 to nearly 23 million tons in 2016-17 (Table 2). Although India is the highest producer of pulses in the world, its domestic demand outstrips domestic production. The shortfall is met from imports. Long-term solution to meet demand for pulses lies in increasing production of pulses in the country.
       
In this context, it is important to understand the macro issues, which help in framing pragmatic policies for improving production of pulses in the country.  Keeping this purpose in mind, the present paper seeks to examine the important aspects related to growth of pulses from a broad perspective at the international and national level.
In order to meet the objectives of the study, secondary data from various issues of Agricultural Statistics at a Glance and Statistical Abstract of Punjab were tapped for the period 1950-51 to the latest available. Besides these sources, data on the pertinent variables were also culled from various websites such as www.fao.org, dacnet.nic.in, www.Indiastat.com and www.apeda.gov.in.
       
The overtime changes in study variables were examined by working out the compound annual growth rates for the production and export of pulses for the relevant periods under study. The growth in production and exports of pulse was studied through compound growth rates (CGR), which was calculated by the formula:

logY = log a + t log b   

Where        
Y- Variable whose CAGR is to be calculated.
a- Constant term.
t- Time variable.
b- Regression coefficient of limits.
India accounts for nearly two per cent of the world landmass, yet it contributes significantly in the production of pulses since most of the Indian population is vegetarian who depend on pulses for their protein intake.Hence, India is bound to be the global leader in terms of consumer and producer of pulses.
       
A perusal of Table 1 reveals that India is the production hub of pigeon pea, chick pea and lentil in the world (71.5% of pigeon pea; 61.4% of chickpea and 16.1% of lentil) during 2017. India also accounts for major chunk of global pigeon pea acreage (78.3% in 2000 and 76.7% in 2017) and contributes a significant share in global pigeon pea production (79.1% in 2000 and 71.5% in 2017). In addition to it, India accounts for the major chunk (65.5% in 2017) of global chickpea acreage and contributes a little more than three-fifth of global chickpea production during 2017. However, the productivity of Indian pulses was observed to be much lower than the global figures barring a few years.
 

Table 1: Profile of pulses in India.


 
Overtime profile of pulses in India
 
The pulses are grown under a wide range of agro-climatic conditions in India. During 1950-51, pulses were grown on an area of 19.1 million hectares (Table 2) and production was to the tune of 8.4 million ton in the country. Acreage under pulses has registered a meager increase from 1950-51 to 2000-01. But after the implementation of various Government initiatives to promote production of pulses in the country like National Food Security Mission (NFSM)-Pulses, more land area was devoted to pulses post the year 2000, but the proportionate share of pulses in food grain acreage has seen many ups and downs overtime. Pulses accounted for nearly 20 per cent share of the total food grains acreage during 1950-51. Even though this share rose to 23 per cent by 2016-17 but the major chunk of food grain acreage was occupied by other cereals, highlighting a disturbing profile of pulses cultivation in the country.
 

Table 2: Contribution of pulses to total food grains in India.


       
In addition to it, the production of pulses in the country has nearly tripled from 8.4 million ton in 1950-51 to about 23.0 million ton in 2016-17. This increase in production of pulses can be attributed to increase in yield of pulses. But the contribution of pulses to food grain output has almost halved over the study period in spite of shifting of more area towards pulses cultivation. This can be attributed to the reason that more contribution to food grain output is made by other high yielding cereals rather than pulses. Another study conducted by Narayan et al., (2015) revealed the fact that the growth rate of pulses area and production were found negligible as compared to cereals like wheat and paddy and there exist wide interstate variability in their yield in the country.
 
Major pulses producing states of India
 
It can be witnessed from Table 3 that the area under pulses in Madhya Pradesh has been the highest throughout the period 1970-71 to 2017-18 whereas Uttar Pradesh leads the rest in case of yield level and is having the highest yield as compared to that of the national level (Table 2) except few years where Madhya Pradesh leads the rest of states and having the yield above the national level. The area under pulses has increased with CAGR of 1.00 per cent, 0.33 per cent and 0.24 per cent respectively, in case of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan during the period 1970-71 to 2017-18 whereas there has been decline in the area under pulses in case of Uttar Pradesh which declined with the CAGR of -0.84 per cent. The acreage under pulses has declined from 3.7 million hectares in 1970-71 to 2.3 million hectares during 2017-18 in case of Uttar Pradesh. In case of yield, the annual increase at the rate of 1.85 per cent, 1.68 per cent, 0.63 per cent and 0.15 per cent, respectively was seen for Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh during the period 1970-71 to 2017-18.
 

Table 3: Major pulse producing states of India.


       
Pulses are grown nearly on 30 million hectares (Table 4) of land and production is to the tune of 25 million tons during 2017-18. Chickpea is the largest group of pulses grown in India followed by urad bean, pigeon pea and mung bean. Pulses are grown and produced largely in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, accounting for 62.2 per cent of the total acreage under pulses during 2017-18.  Chickpea is the single largest category of pulses contributing 44.5 per cent to the basket of total pulses followed by pigeon pea and urad bean during 2017-18. The top three leading states of India in terms of acreage and production of pulses are presented in Table 4. Madhya Pradesh is the leading state in terms of both acreage and production of chickpea, lentil, urad bean during 2017-18. The state of Maharashtra has grabbed top most position in terms of acreage and production of pigeon pea over the same period. Rajasthan has earned the privilege to be top producer of mung bean.
 

Table 4: Top three leading states of India in terms of pulses, 2017-18.


 
International trade of Indian pulses
 
Since, the domestic demand for pulses outstrips the domestic production of pulses, so the country relies on the import of pulses to meet its demand. Thus, pulses are an important component of India’s agricultural import basket constituting 19.5 per cent (Table 5) share during 2009-10. Overtime this share has registered a decline on account of increased production of pulses in the country except for the period 2015-16 and 2016-17.
 

Table 5: Balance of trade of pulses in India.


       
On the contrary, the export of pulses have registered an increase of Rs. 1062 crore from about Rs. 408 crore in 2009-10 to nearly Rs. 1470 crore in 2017-18 even though, the pulses constitute a meager share in export of agricultural commodities.
       
Another important parameter to study is the price paid/realized during import/export of pulses. The analysis has revealed that India imports pulses at lower prices but exports them at a higher price in the international market, highlighting Government’s policy to procure/import pulses at lower prices to stabilize domestic prices thus keeping them under check. A perusal of Table 6 reveals that India imported 5.6 million tons of pulses at the rate of Rs.3342 per quintal and exported 0.18 million tons of pulses at Rs. 8164 per quintal during 2017-18.
 

Table 6: Trade profile of pulses for India.


       
The domestic demand for pulses outstrips domestic production, even though the production of pulses has increased from 17.1 million tons during 2014-15 to 25.2 million tons during 2017-18 (Table 7). The domestic demand for pulses was 21.5 million tons during 2014-15, out of which 21.3 per cent was met through import and it further increased to 30.7 million tons during 2017-18, of which 18.2 per cent was met through imports highlighting declining reliance on imports due to increased domestic production of pulses. In addition to this, India also exported 2.2 lakh tons of pulses during 2014-15 which further declined to 1.8 lakh tons during 2017-18.
 

Table 7: Production and demand profile of pulses in India.


       
The procurement policy of Government is in favour of cereals, however, prohibits farmers from growing pulses in place of wheat and paddy. Since, India is the leading importer of pulses; production of pulses has been stagnant over the years. Consequently, there is a widening gap between demand and supply (Chhina 2018).
              
Pulses are an integral part of India’s agricultural import basket. India imported 6.6 million tons of pulses worth Rs 28523 crore during 2016-17. A perusal of Table 8 reveals that over the last few years, import of pulses has dropped due to increased production of pulses in the country.

Table 8: Major import sources of pulses for India.


 
Myanmar is the largest exporter of pulses to India followed by Canada, Mozambique, Tanzania and Ukraine during 2018-19. These countries accounted for nearly 66.7 of the total import of pulses during 2018-19.
       
Though India is a net importer of pulses, yet it exports small quantum of pulses. A perusal of Table 9 reveals that India exported 1.4 lakh tons of pulses worth Rs 1278 crore during 2016-17. The export of pulses has seen many ups and downs over the previous few years and it was to the tune of 2.9 lakh tons valuing Rs 1802 crore during 2018-19. The major export destination for Indian pulses include Algeria, USA, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates accounting for nearly 43 per cent of the pulses export during 2018-19. Algeria is the main export destination of Indian pulses accounting for nearly 15.2 per cent of the total export of pulses, followed by UAE, Sri Lanka, USA and Bangladesh during 2018-19.
 

Table 9: Major export destination of Indian pulses.

The national demand for pulses is increasing as a consequence of increasing population for which the handy resort is to increase the production of pulses in the country. Although India is the largest producer of pulses in the world, its domestic demand outstrips domestic production and the shortfall is met from imports. India imported nearly 5.6 million tons of pulses worth Rs. 18748 crore during 2017-18. Long-term solution to meet demand for pulses lies in increasing production of pulses in the country which is indeed a challenge for us to ensure supply of pulses as cultivation of pulses is primarily undertaken under rainfed conditions on marginal and sub-marginal lands and is prone to production losses due to moisture stress. The current production scenario of pulses in India reveals that the domestic supply of pulses is nearly capable of meeting the growing demand of its consumers. About 30 million hectares of land is under pulses, producing about 25 million ton annually during 2017-18. Moreover, the realignment of cropping pattern to relatively less water-intensive crops such as pulses in water-scarce areas will have multitude benefits of nutrition to both mankind and mother earth.
       
The strategies for stepping up domestic production must include development and adoption of modern technology including high yielding varieties, better monetary incentives to farmers to make cultivation of pulses more profitable than its competitive crops. Assured market with remunerative prices can motivate farmers to allocate more area for the cultivation of pulses. Import of pulses by India helps to meet demand-supply gaps, which have occurred because of stagnation in the area under cultivation, slow growth in yield and continuous increase in population. In the wake of ground water depletion, other ecological and environmental hazards due to the prevalent cropping system especially, paddy cultivation, diversification is the need of the hour. For this, pulses cultivation is one of the best alternatives which could help in averting the current status of environmental degradation.
              
Though the procurement policy of the Government is in favour of cereals, prohibits farmers from growing pulses in place of wheat and paddy yet the idea of crop diversification towards legumes offers abundant benefit of nitrogen fixation but the dearth of assured marketing is one of the major issues in the poor performance of pulses. Government procurement for supply through public distribution system and as part of mid-day meal schemes and welfare programmes would provide adequate marketing support to growers. In order to provide the nutritional security to the poor masses relying on vegetarian diet, making pulses affordable through boosting domestic production of pulses is the best alternative.

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