India’s chickpea procurement tops 2 million tonnes

The procurement of chana (gram or chickpeas) by the National Federation of Cooperative Agricultural Marketing of India (NAVD) at the lowest subsidy price (MSP) has exceeded 2 million tons (metric tons) in the continuous marketing of ruba. With the pace of market access slowing amid improving prices, the trade feels that total purchases are unlikely to exceed last year’s levels of 2.59 metric tons.

“Market arrivals are slowing down and we feel total purchases may not exceed last year’s levels. Overall, Chana purchases this year are likely to be around 2.3 million tons,” said Rahul Chauhan of IGrain India.

As of May 18, NAVED purchases amounted to 2.02 metric tons. Madhya Pradesh, the largest grower, leads the Nafd procurement chart with over 0.717 metric tons, followed by Maharashtra at over 0.671 metric tons and Gujarat at 0.31 metric tons. Purchases that began on April 1 will likely continue through the end of June.

Manual stocks to handle inflation

In Rajasthan, purchases exceeded 1.12 thousand tons, while in Karnataka over 79,631 tons and Andhra Pradesh at 64,503 tons followed by Telangana at 50,238 tons. With the exception of Karnataka, where purchases exceeded last year’s levels by a small margin, NAVED purchases lag behind last year’s levels in other states.

Chauhan said the nodal agency has a carry-over stock of approximately 1.46 metric tons. And with the possibility that purchases for the current year will exceed 2.3 million tons, the total stocks at the end of the supply season will be more than 3.7 million tons, equivalent to about a third of domestic consumption. Chauhan said such huge stocks may be on hand for the government to keep prices of pulses under control, especially in the following festival season. The purchase is still in progress.

Chana prices have improved slightly in recent weeks on higher purchases and currently hover in the range of ₹4,500-5,175 across various mandis, but still reigns below the MSP of ₹5,335 per quintal. In Delhi, Rajasthan chana rules in the range of ₹5,050-5,075. “In the future, prices are likely to remain range-bound,” Chauhan said.

According to Nafed, the total number of farmers benefiting from Chana purchases exceeds 8.95 lakh and the value of total Chana purchased exceeds Rs 10,790 crores.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture’s second pre-estimation, gram production in the 2022-23 season is estimated at 13,632 metric tons, above the target of 13.5 million tons. Last year, per gram production was 13.54 metric tons.