Indian output of pulses to hit record high

India’s production of summer-sown pulses is likely to surge to a record high this year, dragging down prices of the protein-rich food grains after last year’s sharp rally that prompted farmers to increase area under cultivation, industry officials said.

Higher output by the world’s top consumer and importer of pulses could help Asia’s No.3 economy rein in its headline inflation that hit a near two-year high in July on double-digit annual increases in prices of sugar, vegetables and pulses.

“Prices have been moderating and in some pulses they could halve from the peak due to bumper production,” said Pravin Dongre, chairman of the India Pulses and Grains Association.

He estimated India’s output of summer-sown pulses at a record 7.8 million tons this year, up 40 % from a year ago. The government has not yet issued an official forecast.

“Last year, higher pulses prices were hitting consumers. Now farmers could suffer due to steep fall in prices,” Dongre said.

As of September 2, India’s area under summer-sown pulses reached a record 14.2 million hectares, up 33 % from a year ago, with the market already reflecting the expected bumper supplies.###