Reacting to relatively better price realisation as compared to other varieties of pulses, farmers had till last week planted gram (chana) on around 1.3 million hectares, around 14 per cent more than in the same period last year.
Trade sources said some shift in acreage towards gram might also happen from mustard, as oilseed rates had plummeted in the kharif harvest season due to stock overhang and less demand. How much area finally gets shifted will depend on how prices move after the recent decision to double the import duties on crude edible oils and how fast winter sets in over northern India. Favourable weather might cap a big shift.
According to government data, till Friday, mustard was sown on 5.13 million hectares, about 11.2 per cent less than in the same period last year. Overall, till last week, sowing of rabi crops was complete in about half the normal area, at 31.58 mn ha, marginally less than in the same period last year.
Gram prices haven't dropped as sharply as other pulses varieties because the bulk of gram demand is from value-added industries like besan (chickpea flour) manufacturers. This is the main reason why farmers are going for gram this year, N P Singh, Director of the Kanpur-based Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR), told Business Standard.
Source: Business Standard