Rise of India as Pulses Producer: An Overview

The growth of India as a pulses producer is one of the most remarkable stories in global agriculture. In the last decade, India has emerged as the largest producer and consumer of pulses globally. This article takes a look at this trend and some of the factors behind it.

India’s transition to self-sufficiency in pulses production happened rapidly and was driven by many factors. These included increased productivity, public investment and private investment in agricultural research, an increase in irrigation, greater use of fertilizer, and policy reforms that have opened up land markets and increased the flexibility of farmers to grow crops with higher income potential.

The result has been that India has gone from importing millions of tonnes of pulses a year to being a net exporter of pulses. This has had important consequences for world food security and food prices because before India’s emergence as a major producer and exporter, Canada was typically the largest producer and exporter of pulses with significant market power on world markets. Now there is greater competition between producers which puts downward pressure on prices for consumers.

Pulses export from India

India can increase its pulses exportsto 20 million tonnes by 2025 if the government provides a marketing platform to farmers, domestic processing capacity is enhanced, and grading facilities are improved, according to industry experts.

Pulses export from Indiareached about 2.5 million tonnes of pulses in 2017-18. In the first three months of 2018-19, exports stood at 1.2 million tonnes.

Exporters told BusinessLine that export potential is huge as there is sufficient demand for Indian pulses in the international market which can be tapped with a little push from the government.

Pulses Importing Countries

1. Japan:

Japan is one of the major Pulses Importing Countries in the World. The country imported around 792000 metric tonnes of pulses in the year 2016. An average import price tag was $1,144 per metric tonne over that period.

2. India:

India is one of the largest producers and exporters of pulses in the World, but the country still imports a large amount of red lentils from canada. The country imported around 770000 metric tonnes of pulses worth $809 million from canadaduring 2016.

3. China:

China is another big importer of pulses in the World who have an active trade relationship with India for importing peas and lentils to meet their domestic demands. The country imported around 476000 metric tonnes worth $521 million from India during 2016.

4. Malaysia:

Malaysia is yet another big importer of pulses from India and they are primarily importing yellow peas and chickpeas to meet their domestic demands. The country imported around 200000 metric tonnes worth $191 million from India during 2016.

5. Bangladesh:

Bangladesh has a very active trade relationship with India for buying Indian pulses like lentils, chickpeas, yellow peas and more to meet their domestic demands.

Production and Demand

India has been a major producer of pulses all over the world. In fact, it is the largest producer of pulses in the world, followed by Canada and Australia. Production of pulses in India has increased manifold over the years due to various factors. From production to demand and supply, this article highlights some important aspects concerning India’s role as a leading producer of pulses.

Production of pulses

The production of pulses in India has increased several folds from around 10 million tons in the 1960s to around 20 million tons in the 1990s. This increase further escalated to more than 19 million tons in 2014-15. This happened mainly because of growing demand for pulses in India and overseas.

This increase is considered significant as it helped India achieve self sufficiency in production of pulses and also fulfill its growing demand for this commodity.

Demand for Pulses

India has been the largest consumer of pulses with average per capita consumption at around 18 kg per annum. This demand is expected to rise with growing population and increasing urbanization along with changing patterns in food consumption habits. The above factors are also responsible for increasing demand for pulses in countries like the USA, Canada, Russia, Japan and the European Union (EU).

Indian pulses market size

The Indian pulses market is expected to reach USD 72.70 billion by 2024, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. Increasing consumption of dals and legumes such as lentils, peas and beans in various forms including sprouts, soups, salads and other dishes is expected to drive the demand over the forecast period.

Additionally, growing awareness regarding health benefits associated with consumption of pulses including high protein content, low fat and carbohydrates is expected to support market growth over the next eight years.Pulses are majorly consumed in India, China and Nigeria which are estimated to account for around 60% of global consumption. The consumption in these countries has been increasing on account of rising disposable income which is expected to remain a key driving factor for the market growth over the next eight years.

In addition, easy availability at low cost as compared to other protein sources including meat and seafood is anticipated to drive the demand further over the forecast period. Increased production in Canada due to strong government support coupled with declining prices is expected to drive demand from developing regions such as India over the forecast period. However, increasing production of soybean products due to their increased application scope across various end-use industries including animal feed and edible oil is anticipated to restrain industry growth over the


Therefore, it can be said that India holds an important position in global pulses trade and is the second largest producer of pulses in the world. It holds some unique characteristics as a pulses producer which may hold the key to future trends in the trade of pulses. Consequently, India holds a significant advantage in influencing the market of this commodity.

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