Enabling Pulses Revolution in India
8 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 27, 2013
Historically India is the largest producer, consumer and importer of pulses. Although it is the world’s largest pulses producer, India has been importing 3-4 million tons (MT) of pulses every year to meet its domestic demand. However, during the last decade, growth in pulses production has increased significantly. India achieved a record output in pulses production at 18.1 MT in 2010-11 with an all-time high production achieved in chickpea (8.25 MT), moong (1.82MT) and urad (1.74 MT). Even though pulses production increased significantly during the last decade, continuing the faster growth is a bigger challenge for researchers, extension agencies and policy makers. For some crops such as oilseeds, earlier experience shows most of the success is short lived if we don’t align production technology with policy support (Reddy 2009). Still, the productivity of pulses in India (694 kg/ha) is lower than most of the major pulse producing countries and yield potential attained at research stations and on-farm demonstrations. The brief discusses strategies followed to increase pulses production in the last decade and the way forward to sustain the increased production. It also examines the factors behind the fast growth in production of pulses in recent years with chickpea in Andhra Pradesh as an example. Introduction of chickpea crop into non-traditional areas like south Indian states is an example of technological and institutional breakthrough to be replicated in other crops. Introduction of chickpea into black cotton soils, availability of plenty of rabi fallow lands, adoption of short duration and high yielding varieties like KAK- 2 and JG-11, and well developed land lease market to facilitate large scale mechanization to cope with labor shortage in villages are some of the contributing factors for the expansion of chickpea area into south Indian states. It highlighted the importance of (i) successful government programs like National Food Security Mission in increasing pulses production, (ii) development and distribution of improved seed through semi-formal seed systems and farmers participatory varietal selection (FPVS) , (iii) emphasis on abiotic and biotic stress management to increase stability in area and yields through integrated approach (iv) increased availability of subsidised improved seed, micronutrients like sulphur, gypsum, popularization of herbicides and farm machinery to cope with labor shortages, and lastly (v) developing market information systems and warehouse infrastructure, enhancing credit availability, establishing markets with state-of-the-art post harvest management and cold storages.
Keywords: pulses, India, food security
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