New Delhi : India’s pulse imports rose by 50 per cent in value terms to Rs 25,691 crore in 2015-16, with in-bound shipments totaling 5.8 million tonnes, Parliament was informed on Friday.

 The country imported 4.58 MT of the key kitchen staple worth Rs 17,063 crore, Minister of State for Agriculture S S Ahluwalia said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

 “At the end of July 2016, the buffer stock of pulses was 69,000 tonnes,” he added.

 Pulse production declined to 17.06 MT in 2015-16 crop year (July-June) from 17.15 MT in the previous year due to two consecutive years of drought while demand for it stands at 23.5 MT. In 2013-14, the output was over 19 MT.

 In a separate query, the minister told the House that government has inked an MoU with Mozambique on pulses.

 “This MoU fixes targets of minimum quantities of export of tur and other pulses from Mozambique to India over the next five years whether through private channels or government to government sales…,” he added, reports PTI.

 The target for import is 1 lakh tonnes (LT) this fiscal, 1.25 LT in 2017-18, 1.20 LT in 2018-19, 1.75 LT in 2019-20 and 2 LT in 2020-21.

 To encourage farmers to grow more pulses, Ahluwalia said the government has increased the minimum support prices (MSPs) for pulses and cereals for 2016-17 season. “Further, to incentivise cultivation of pulses in the country, the government has announced a bonus of Rs 425 per quintal for kharif pulses, namely arhar (tur), urad and moong over and above the MSPs for 2016-17,” he said.

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