Government might sell moong dal to tame prices

Pune Pulse

Government might sell moong dal to tame prices

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By: Pune Pulse

November 27, 2023

Pune: The Centre is devising a strategy to curb food inflation by offering moong (green gram) at a reduced price in the retail market. 

A senior official recently stated that as a component of the plan, the government will utilize 5% or 30,000 tonnes of raw moong from the current central pool stocks and offer it at a reduced price through its co-operatives, namely the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India (NCCF).

Currently, the Center possesses approximately 500,000 metric tons of moong in its inventory, surpassing the standard of 100,000 metric tons. This approach aligns with the previous tactics employed for the discounted sale of chana (Bengal gram), atta (wheat flour) and onions. In recent times, the government has implemented various precautionary measures, such as imposing export restrictions and stock holding limits on essential commodities, to curb food inflation. Pulses, being the primary contributor, have led to a food inflation rate of 6.61%. 

The official stated that despite the equal allocation of the target quantity to NAFED and NCCF, and the prior communication of the standard operating procedure for the retail sale of moong dal to both agencies, there has been no progress in the conversion and retail sale. This lack of progress is attributed to the non-competitiveness of the market rates without any discount. The retail price of moong dal, without any discount and at the MSP of ₹7,755 per quintal for the S-2023 stock, amounts to ₹123 per kg, which is higher than the all-India average retail price of ₹115 per kg. In order to boost the retail sale of moong dal, it has been suggested that a discount of ₹1,500 per quintal on the MSP of the raw stock could be permitted. 

The indicative retail prices for moong dal and moong sabut(whole) would be ₹107 per kg and ₹93 per kg, respectively, with a discount of ₹1,500 per quintal on the MSP of moong stock. Out of 545 price reporting centres, 408 have reported retail prices of moong dal exceeding ₹107 per kg. The sale of one kg packs at a discounted rate of ₹107 per kg will help stabilize prices, according to the official. The proposal will be presented to the top authority for a final decision. On Friday, the average retail prices of moong dal in India increased by nearly 1% month-on-month and 12.7% year-on-year, reaching ₹117.20 per kg. Wholesale prices also saw an increase of 0.7% on a monthly basis and 13.2% on a yearly basis, amounting to ₹10,643.49 per quintal, as per the data from the consumer affairs ministry. 

According to farmers and traders, the prices of moong skyrocketed to ₹14,000 per quintal in major markets of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra two months ago due to unfavourable crop conditions and a delayed planting season caused by the unpredictable monsoon. Although the market prices have slightly eased to ₹8,500-10,500 per quintal, they remain higher than the minimum support price (MSP) of ₹8,558 per quintal for the 2023-24 crop year. It is anticipated that the prices will continue to remain stable due to a lower kharif crop this season. The agriculture ministry’s initial estimates suggest that the Kharif moong production for the 2023-24 (July-June) crop year is projected to be 1.4 million tonnes, significantly lower than the previous season’s 3.7 million tonnes, which includes an estimated 1.7 million tonnes for the kharif season. Unfortunately, queries directed to the Department of Consumer Affairs remained unanswered at the time of this report.