The government agencies — farmers’ cooperative Nafed and National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) — will be soon entering into agreements with farmers to procure pulses at prevailing market prices or minimum support price (MSP) for the next three to five years.

The move is likely to provide assurance to the farmers to grow pulses varieties — tur, urad and masoor. India imports these in significant quantities.

“We are discussing the move to provide assured buyback arrangements for farmers who want to grow these varieties of pulses,” Ritesh Chauhan, MD, Nafed, told FE. He said the move would also signal to the market to offer better prices to farmers against those offered by the government.

While speaking at the global pulses meet, food minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said Nafed will have a five-year contract with farmers who diversify pulses production and they will get assured prices. In 2023, the country imported a record 3.1 million tonne (MT) of pulses to meet the domestic demand.

Meanwhile, agriculture minister Arjun Munda said “India, the world’s largest producer and consumer, is making consistent efforts to attain self-sufficiency in production of pulses and reduce imports by 2027”.

“A substantial progress has already been made in the domestic pulses production which has increased from 17 MT in 2014 and now a target of 29.5 MT has been set for this year, (2023-24 crop year)” Munda said on Thursday.

He stated that total area under lentils has increased by 0.1 MT during the ongoing rabi season. Tur is also being encouraged for sowing in irrigated areas, for which the government has launched a portal for the assured and complete procurement of tur.

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the government last month initiated direct purchase of tur dal from the farmers at the market prices, which are currently ruling above the MSP.

Stating that a road map has been prepared to increase pulses production, Munda said the government is promoting use of modern technologies like satellite imagery for seed development research and evaluation of cultivation, providing suitable and timely advice and mapping every farmer’s field for irrigation and fertilisation.

The government has increased the supply of new varieties of seeds, while also focusing on expanding cultivation of tur and black gram, he added.

In the next kharif season commencing from July, Munda said arrangements are being made for large scale cluster demonstrations to enable farmers to become familiar with new varieties and techniques.

Govt to buy pulses from farmers at MSP or market rate