High Prices Hit Pulses Demand

Soaring prices of commonly used pulses in households has dampened demand forcing dal mills to slash processing capacities. A drop in retail demand for pulses at higher prices during the peak processing season has lowered capacity utilisation at dal mills mostly into processing of chana.Dal miller Sujay Kabra running a chana processing unit in Indore said, “Demand for finished product has declined sharply in the retail market at high prices and this has dampened operations at dal mills.”

December to March is the peak dal processing period when new season harvest arrives in the market. Madhya Pradesh is a major center for dal mills with around 700 dal mills in the state of which 160 in Indore. Dal mills said, duty-free imports of yellow peas until March 31 next year by the government is likely to divert mills to the processing of yellow peas from tur and may enhance processing in mills.

Komal Agrawal, owner of a dal mill in Palda said, “Raw material supplies are sufficient in the market but I could not use them to their full capacities due to poor retail demand of pulses in the market. I am hardly using 40 per cent capacities. Apart from poor retail demand, competition from other states has dampened demand for our finished products.”Industry players expect a pick-up in demand with the start of the wedding season. Another owner of a dal mill Abhay Agrawal said, “Mills engaged into processing of tur are mostly dependent on imported supplies because local supply of tur is very less and insufficient. Also local prices are higher that further makes our product competitive.”

This article has been republished from The Times of India.

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