The price of toor dal has fallen drastically in wholesale markets since its record high last year due to the bumper crop.
As the prices of pulses have gone down by 50% in the last fortnight, the government is looking to redistribute toor dal through public distribution system (PDS) shops.
Reports suggest that Karnataka being a major cultivator of pulses, has an estimated output of 20-25 lakh metric tonnes this year as against 12.5 lakh metric tonnes last year. Even other pulse-growing states like Maharashtra and Gujarat have had a good crop.
Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, President of Bangalore Wholesale Food Grains and Pulses Merchants Association, told TOI that toor dal growers are facing losses as prices have crashed below the minimum support price of Rs 5,050 per quintal. Demonetisation has also brought down the prices to a record low, he added.
Kalburgi and Bidar, the main pulse markets in the state, witnessed a drastic fall in wholesale prices, which are now pegged between Rs 4,500-4,875 per quintal, the report said.
These two districts contribute more than 60% of the stateās red gram production and the cultivation area has increased by five-lakh hectares in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region as it received good rainfall, the report added.
Although the prices have decreased in the wholesale market, consumers are yet to reap its benefits. The price of toor dal is Rs 70-75 in wholesale markets, whereas in retail markets, it is between Rs 90-110. These prices may drop after the old stock is emptied in retail outlets. In 2016, the price of toor dal had gone up to Rs 250 as the drought had caused severe shortage, the ToI report says.
Karnataka Agriculture Price Commission chairman TN Prakash Kammaradi told ToI that the government is in the process of setting up a federation of pulses, which will purchase pulses at a fixed price from farmers and sell them when the rates are high. The proposed federation will intervene when there is a glut, procure and store the produce, and sell it later.
The federation can also work as an agent for both the state and Centre to distribute toor dal through PDS. The Centre is already distributing one kg of toor dal per BPL (below poverty line) family via PDS every month with a requirement of about one lakh quintals per month, the report said.