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Global Pulses Conference

Why is it in the news?

  • The Global Pulses Conference advocates for India to increase pulse production to address nutritional needs.

About Pulses Production in India

  • India is the largest producer, consumer, and importer of pulses globally, with 25% of global production, 27% of world consumption, and 14% of imports.
  • Pulses occupy around 20% of the area under food grains and contribute approximately 7-10% of the total food grains production in India.
  • Rabi pulses contribute more than 60% of the total production, with Gram being the most dominant pulse, constituting around 40% of the total production.
  • Tur/Arhar follows with a share of 15-20%, and Urad/Black Matpe and Moong contribute around 8-10% each.
  • Regions with high productivity include Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal delta region, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, coastal and eastern Karnataka, and certain parts of Maharashtra.
  • Despite being the largest producer and consumer, India still imports certain pulses like masur and tur to fulfil domestic shortages.

Benefits of Pulses Production

  • Nutritional Value: Pulses serve as essential sources of protein, dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals, offering a significant contribution to improving nutritional status, particularly in regions where access to animal protein is limited.
  • Soil Health Improvement: Pulses possess the unique ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen through symbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their root nodules. This biological nitrogen fixation process enhances soil fertility, reduces the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, and fosters sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Income Generation: Pulses often command higher market prices compared to other staple crops, providing additional income opportunities for farmers, especially smallholders.
  • Resistant to Climate Change: Pulses play a crucial role in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. Their ability to sequester carbon in the soil helps mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change mitigation. Moreover, pulses require relatively less water compared to many other crops, making them more resilient to drought conditions and climate variability.

Reasons for Low Production in India

  • Low Productivity: Historically, pulses have received less attention and investment compared to other crops, resulting in lower productivity levels. Challenges such as pest infestations, diseases, and inadequate agronomic practices contribute to yield instability, limiting overall production.
  • Climate Variability: Pulses are predominantly grown in rainfed areas, making them highly susceptible to climate variability, including erratic rainfall patterns, droughts, and extreme weather events.
  • Residual Crop Status: Pulses are frequently considered residual crops in India, cultivated in marginal or less fertile lands with minimal attention to pest and nutrient management.
  • Preference for Cash Crops: Farmers may prioritize cultivating cash crops such as rice, wheat, and sugarcane over pulses due to factors like assured procurement, higher market prices, and perceived lower production risks.
  • Post Harvest Losses: Inadequate post-harvest infrastructure and storage facilities contribute to significant losses in pulses production. Issues such as excessive moisture, pest infestations (such as the pulse beetle), and poor handling practices during storage result in substantial post-harvest losses, affecting overall production levels and market availability.
  • Impact of the Green Revolution: The Green Revolution in India primarily focused on promoting rice and wheat cultivation through the adoption of high-yielding varieties and external inputs.
  • Low Adoption of High Yielding Varieties (HYV) Seeds: Despite the availability of high-yielding varieties, the adoption rate among farmers remains low. Factors such as lack of awareness, accessibility, and concerns about seed quality and performance hinder widespread adoption, limiting the potential for yield improvement and production enhancement.

Measures taken by the government to increase production

  • PM-AASHA: The government implements the Price Support Scheme (PSS), Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS), and Private Procurement Stockist Scheme (PPSS) under the umbrella scheme PM-AASHA to ensure minimum support prices (MSP) for pulses and other commodities.
  • Integrated Scheme of Oilseeds, Pulses, Oil Palm, and Maize (ISOPOM): Launched in major pulses-growing states, ISOPOM focuses on enhancing productivity and production levels through integrated interventions across the entire value chain.
  • National Food Security Mission (NFSM)-Pulses: The NFSM-Pulses initiative aims to increase pulses production through area expansion and productivity enhancement interventions in all districts across the country.
  • Research and Development: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) collaborates with State Agricultural Universities to conduct research and development activities aimed at developing location-specific high-yielding varieties of pulses.
  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY): Under RKVY, states can undertake specific pulses development programs to enhance production and productivity.

 Way Forward

  • Training and Education Programs: Implementing comprehensive training and educational programs aimed at farmers can enhance their understanding of modern agricultural practices, including improved seed selection, optimal planting techniques, efficient water and soil management, and integrated pest and disease management.
  • Access to Resources and Inputs: Ensuring equitable access to quality seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and machinery can significantly improve productivity in the pulses sector.
  • Market Linkages and Value Addition: Facilitating better market linkages and providing support for value addition can incentivize farmers to increase pulses production.

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