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Pulses, oil seed prices firm up on rains, pest attacks

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NEW DELHI: Heavy rain and pest attacks on ripening crops have increased the prices of pulses and oil seeds by up to 10 per cent in the past week.

Prices of moong and urad have increased by 10 per cent to Rs 62 a kg after heavy rains in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, said Suresh Aggarwal, president of All India Dal Mill Association.

“Prices of other pulses too have increased due to this factor. Waterlogging in fields is a big concern and we expect prices to remain firm in the short run. However, prices can stabilise if the government extends the deadline to import urad till December,” said Aggarwal.

Soybean Processors Association of India chairman Davish Jain said prices increased by 6 per cent to Rs 41 a kg in the last one week due to damage to soya bean crop in Madhya Pradesh. “We anticipate a 10 per cent to 12 per cent drop in production caused by very heavy rains and variation in temperature, creating a congenial environment for large-scale pest attack on the soya bean plants.” he said.

Pest attacks have also been reported on the cotton crop in Punjab and Haryana where prices have gone up by 5 per cent in the past week, traders said. The increase in sale price of cotton by Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) also contributed to the increase, they said.

“On more than 40,000 hectares in Haryana and 20,000 hectares in Punjab, the cotton crop has been hit by bacterial blight, a fungal and bacterial disease, in the last one week after the heavy spell of rains on August 20-21. If it spreads, then more damage is expected. Further, the white fly pest attack has also increased this year,” said Mahesh Sharda, president, Indian Cotton Association.

Guar prices also rose 5 per cent after heavy rains in most parts of Rajasthan after a long dry spell, said PK Hissaria, president, Indian Guar Gum Manufacturers’ Association. He said prices would be volatile until the new crop is harvested in October. In rain-fed areas, farmers may increase the acreage due to water availability, he said. Guar gum was being traded at Rs 65 a kg while guar seed was at Rs 41 a kg in Jodhpur mandi on Monday. Traders were also hopeful of demand from the global exploration sector picking up by October.

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