India Pursues Pulse Imports Deal with Argentina and Brazil
India, having previously signed MoUs with Mozambique, Malawi, and Myanmar for the import of pulses, is now in talks with Argentina and Brazil to establish agreements. These agreements would entail the South American nations cultivating tur and urad varieties, specifically for export to India. Discussions have commenced with Argentine authorities concerning the cultivation of pulse varieties that India frequently imports in substantial quantities. Rohit Kumar Singh, the secretary of the Department of Consumer Affairs, engaged in discussions with Argentina's ambassador in India, Hugo Javier Gobbi, regarding the cultivation of pulses in Argentina. During a recent visit by Brazilian agriculture ministry officials to India, Indian authorities urged them to explore the potential for a similar agreement.
The government aims to decrease reliance on a select few countries for importing various pulse varieties. While South American countries have relatively low domestic pulse consumption, their favorable weather conditions make them suitable for cultivating pulses like urad and tur, primarily for export to India. India has imported 2.28 million tonnes (MT) of pulses this year, including lentils, tur (pigeon pea), and urad (black gram), mainly from countries such as Australia, Canada, Myanmar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sudan, and Malawi.
Brazil produces approximately 3 million tonnes of various bean varieties annually black, cowpea, and mung beans sufficient to meet domestic demand and even export to countries like Vietnam, Pakistan, and Egypt. Moreover, India is considering the potential of growing pulses, particularly tur and urad, in Ethiopia and Tanzania to bolster domestic supplies. Previously, India signed an MoU with Mozambique to import 0.2 MT of arhar annually for five years amid a sharp rise in tur retail prices to Rs 200 per kilogram in 2016. This MoU was extended for an additional five years in September 2021. In 2021, India also entered into MoUs with Malawi and Myanmar for the annual import of 50,000 tonnes and 0.1 MT of tur, respectively, until 2025.