Bengaluru: Even as the growers have begun harvesting a record crop of chikpea or chana across key growing region, the government has increased the import duty on the pulse to 60 per cent from the earlier 40 per cent.
The move is expected to help restrict cheaper imports from Australia and Canada, among other countries, and stabilise the prices of chana, which are currently ruling below the minimum support price of ₹4,400 per quintal (including a bonus of ₹150) in various mandis.
The Centre on Thursday also imposed a 40 per cent duty on Kabuli chana, another variety.
The latest duty hike on chana is the third since December last year, when the government imposed a Customs duty of 30 per cent to curb cheaper inflows.
In early February, the government, in anticipation of a bumper crop, had increased the import duty on chana to 40 per cent.
The Agriculture Ministry, in its second advance estimates, had pegged the chana crop at an all-time high of 11.10 million tonnes on a surge in acreages and increase in yields.
The current crop is around 18 per more than last year’s final estimate of 9.38 million tonnes. Market arrivals of chana, the largest among pulses crops, have begun in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and are expected to gain pace in the days ahead.
The total production of pulses in the country is set to touch 23.95 million tonnes this year, mainly driven by a surge in production, especially of black gram.
Though the government has taken various measures to curb cheaper imports while opening up the exports, the rise in production this year and carry-forward stocks continue to influence the prices of pulses, which have been in a bearish trend since last year.
The prices of almost all variety of pulses such as tur, black gram, and green gram continue to hover below the support price levels in various States.