Australia, Brazil to grow Arhar dal for Indian consumers

Farmers in Australia and Brazil are set to experiment with growing arhar (pigeon peas) for consumers in India, where demand for the popular yellow lentil the main ingredient of ‘dal tadka’ and ‘sambhar’ has been outpacing domestic production for some years now.

At a recent meeting between Australian Agriculture Minister Murray Watt, top officials of India’s food ministry and representatives of the Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), it was decided that IPGA will facilitate pigeon pea farming in Queensland with the help of the Australian trade body Pulse Australia, according to officials.

‘We suggested to the Australian industry that it should grow pigeon peas for India, as India no longer imports chickpeas from Australia once the top supplier of chickpeas to India,’ a top official told ET, requesting not to be named.

Satish Upadhyay, executive committee member, IPGA, said, ‘Australia had earlier done trial production in 2019 and the quality was good. However, it could not go ahead as the prices in India were not remunerative for them. Now they have again started work to grow pigeon pea for the Indian market.’ The sources, however, said that for the initiative to succeed, the Australian counterparts may like to get assured orders from the Indian government.

However, the official cited earlier said, ‘A deficit of about 17 lakh tonnes in Indian demand and supply is itself an assurance for any seller of pigeon peas.’

Earlier this year, IPGA had signed an agreement with Brazil to help farmers there cultivate arhar, which is a new crop for the country.

This article has been republished from The Economic Times

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