Here's How India and Brazil Forge Pact to Boost Pulse Trade
Here's How India and Brazil Forge Pact to Boost Pulse Trade

NEW DELHI: India and Brazil are teaming up to enhance their trade in pulses, with a particular focus on black matpe (urad) and pigeon peas (tur), according to a senior official at the Brazilian embassy.

Indian officials, in a recent meeting with their Brazilian counterparts, emphasized Brazil's importance as a partner and dependable source of pulses for India.

Angelo de Queiroz Mauricio, the agricultural attaché at Brazil’s embassy in New Delhi, stated, "We discussed bilateral trade in pulses and strategies to foster collaboration between both nations for ensuring food security, especially concerning black matpe and pigeon peas. We also explored potential mechanisms to boost trade and cooperation."

Last week, Rohit Kumar Singh, the Union consumer affairs secretary, mentioned that India had imported 3,000 tonnes of black matpe from Brazil in 2023 and anticipated procuring another 20,000 tonnes this year.

Mauricio highlighted the significant opportunity for expanding agricultural trade, particularly in pulses, and suggested that Brazil could become a strategic supplier for India.

He stated, "In general, there's eagerness across all agricultural sectors in India and Brazil to collaborate. We hope that both governments can work together harmoniously to ensure mutually beneficial import policies and a stable, predictable long-term trading environment."

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution did not respond immediately to queries regarding this matter.

In November, Singh urged Brazilian businessmen and officials to increase pulse production, especially of tur and urad, to meet the demand from Indian consumers amidst falling domestic production and to diversify India’s sources of this essential food item.

Singh emphasized, "We need to ensure that food items are available in the country for our 1.4 billion consumers at an affordable price."

India, being both the largest producer and consumer of pulses globally, plans to diversify its sources due to rising domestic demand.

Singh explained, "Given our predominantly vegetarian population and rising incomes, the consumption of protein through pulses is increasing. To meet this growing demand, we can't rely solely on Myanmar. We must consider diversifying our production, which could include Brazil and Argentina."

In 2023, India imported 3.1 million tonnes of pulses, mainly masur (lentils), tur, and urad, compared to 2 million tonnes the year before. Currently, India primarily imports these pulses from Myanmar, East African nations, Australia, and Canada.

Amarnath Tripathi, an associate professor of economics at Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, explained, "India's increasing population, along with a significant portion adhering to a vegetarian diet, drives the high demand for pulses. However, despite this demand, India struggles to produce enough pulses domestically, leading to annual imports."

He added, "Several factors contribute to this production shortfall, including India's food policy bias towards cereals over pulses, resulting in a significant decline in the area cultivated for pulses."

The area dedicated to sowing kharif or monsoon pulses, including tur and urad, decreased by 4.2% in the 2023-24 crop year to 12.4 million hectares, compared to the normal sowing area of nearly 14 million hectares, as per data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.

Key pulse-growing states in India include Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan.

Brazil currently produces nearly 3 million tonnes of pulses, including 10,000 tonnes of urad and less than 3,000 tonnes of chickpeas, peas, and lentils. While Brazil has shown interest in trading and collaborating with India, it has also emphasized the importance of stability and predictability in trade policies.

Mauricio stated that a joint agenda and decisions on the next steps in this regard would be taken forward collaboratively.

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