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The Balancing Act: How Imports, Government Pricing, and Seasonal Harvests Influence Chana Prices Recent Adjustments in Chana Market Prices and Their Broader Implications

Mintec Global
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March Witnesses a Subtle Decline in Chana Prices

March has ushered in a noteworthy shift in chana (Bengal gram) prices, attributed to a confluence of factors including enhanced market supply and government strategies. The initiative to offer Bharat dal at a consumer-friendly price of USD 0,72 per kg, an upsurge in yellow pea imports. The introduction of the new chana crop to the market have collectively contributed to a slight moderation in prices.

Data from Agmarknet reveals a uniform decrease in the average mandi prices across chana-producing states. Specifically, mandis in Madhya Pradesh, like Harda and Ganjbasoda, and Rajasthan, such as Bundi and Kota, have seen modal prices of chana at or below the minimum support price (MSP). This season’s MSP is set at USD 0,65 per kg, indicating the pressures facing the pricing landscape.

The Role of Imports and Demand in Shaping Prices

Bimal Kothari, Chairman of the India Pulses and Grains Association, points out the stability of chana prices, which are now below the MSP in certain regions. This stability is occurring in a context of sluggish demand. “As we anticipate a surge in chana arrivals post-Holi, we’re looking at a significant increase in supply, leaving little room for price hikes,” Kothari explains. This scenario is further influenced by the considerable imports of yellow peas.
The government’s decision to extend duty-free imports of yellow peas until April has played a crucial role in this context. “From the commencement of yellow pea imports in December 2023 to the end of April 2024, we’re expecting imports to reach around 1.5 million tonnes,” adds Kothari.

Rahul Chauhan of Igrain India sheds light on the import figures, with expectations of around 587,000 tonnes by February’s end. The majority of these imports hail from key exporters like Russia and Canada, with Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, and Türkiye also contributing.

Government Actions to Stabilize the Chana Market

The government’s efforts to stabilize the chana market through strategic chana dal distribution and an increase in market arrivals have significantly impacted price trends. Additionally, the government’s second advance estimates forecast chana production at 121.61 lakh tonnes for the 2023-24 rabi season, hinting at a robust supply scenario.
As the market adapts to these developments, the balancing act between imports and domestic production, along with timely government interventions, continues to play a critical role in ensuring chana’s market stability and accessibility. These measures aim not only to provide relief to consumers but also to support farmers by maintaining a balanced and fair market environment.