Pulses import to come down by half this year: Khullar

New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) The Government today projected a50 per cent drop this year in pulses import over last year dueto prospects of a bumper production in 2010-11.

"Pulses are expected to be a bumper crop at 16.6 milliontonnes this year in which case imports will be half of whatthey were last year," Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar toldreporters here.

India''s total pulses'' import in 2009-10 was 3.4 milliontonnes.

Pulses are produced all through the year, with maximumoutput during the Kharif season beginning June.

The country has about 23 million hectares of land underpulses cultivation and average annual production is 14-15million tonnes.

The shortage of about 2-3 million tonnes is met throughimports.

However, the country is likely to achieve an "all timerecord" of 16.6 million tonnes of pulses this year. This ismore than last year''s output of 14.57 million tonnes.

Khullar further said that arrangements for import ofpulses were being made.

"...import contracts for pulses were being entered intoand the same would be done by private traders," he said.

India is still far short of meeting the projected demandof nearly 25-30 million tonnes of pulses over the next decade.

Government has permitted import of pulses at zero dutyto improve its domestic availability.

On edible oil, Khullar said its prices, which were onrise last year, are likely to remain stable in 2011.

"The good news on edible oil front is...it is available(in international markets), there is no shortage and there isno hardening of prices during 2011, which means you should notsee further inflation (in edible oil)," he said.

Edible oil has a weightage of about three percentagepoints in the wholesale price index (WPI). India had imported8.82 million tonnes in 2009-10.

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