India to build 8 lakh tonne pulses buffer stock: Sitharaman
New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) In view of the prevailing shortage of pulses and their rising prices, India is negotiating with neighbouring Myanmar and other countries towards creating a buffer stock of up to eight lakh tonnes eventually, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sithraman said on Monday.
“The government decided we will initially have 1 lakh tonnes of buffer stock both by procuring from farmers and by importing. Now that buffer stock limit has been enhanced. We will take it gradually, not immediately to 8 lakh tonnes,” Sitharaman told members of the Indian Women’s Press Dorps here.
“So, Myanmar can supply us a few… In all probability we will be having a government-to-government import of pulses from Myanmar… the agreement will be signed soon. Mozambique, Malawi are countries we are having pulses-related talks,” she said.
“As it is pulses can be imported by private traders without restriction. Unfortunately last year, because of speculation there was lot of price rise that was unwarranted,” the minister added.
In this connection, she said India produces 17 lakh tonnes of pulses annually, as against the requirement of 23 lakh tonnes, and the country has been importing pulses for decades.
“We are already in talks with these countries and hope to make government-to-government arrangements so that whenever market prices of pulses rise, the government is able to infuse its stocks in the market to stablise the prices,” she added.