Global Economy

Australian farmers likely to grow more chana for Indian consumers

Pune: India’s decision to remove the 40% import duty on desi chana has led to a 7-10% jump in the international prices of the commodity within a day of the announcement on Friday. Made at a time when sowing is ongoing in Australia, this decision is expected to encourage farmers there to boost the acreage and production of Bengal gram for shipment to India.

“The Australian farmers will sow chana till the end of May. India’s decision of removing import duty will encourage them to sow more chana for the Indian consumers,” said a prominent processor of pulses who requested not to be identified.

However, a section of the pulses industry thinks that the removal of the import duty on desi chana can discourage Indian farmers from sowing chana next season, and thus increase India’s dependence on imports.

India removed the 40% import duty on desi chana and extended the duty-free import of yellow peas on Friday. This led to international prices shooting up to $800 per tonne on Saturday from 720-750 per tonne.

“The Australian chana will start coming to India from November clashing with our rabi sowing period,” said a prominent Mumbai-based importer, who also requested not to be named.

Although the central government has estimated India’s 2023-24 chana production to be 12 million tonnes, trade estimates peg it at just about 8 million tonnes, against India’s requirement of more than 9 million tonnes. India can expect to import some chana from Tanzania after August, followed by Australia.However, the industry is surprised by the government’s decision to extend duty-free import of yellow peas till October as about 1.8-2.0 million tonnes of yellow peas have already been imported into the country as per trade estimates.”Both decisions have been taken by looking at the shortage in the domestic market and the interests of the consumers,” said pulses processor Nitin Kalantry.


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