The global pulse market that reached a volume of 92 million tons in 2020 – following annual growth of 3 per cent during the previous decade – is expected to increase by 22 m t by 2030, says OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2021-2030 released earlier this week.

Almost half of the projected increase is expected to come from Asia, especially India, the world’s largest producer, processor, importer and consumer of pulses. India’s production, which is currently in the 23-25 m t range, is expected to expand by a further 6.6 m t by the end of this decade, the report has projected.

The introduction of high yielding hybrid seeds and the minimum support price mechanism to stabilise farmers’ income and procurement programs by some State governments are expected to drive growth in India.

At the global level, production expansion will be driven under the assumption of continued intensification of pulses production systems due to a combination of improved yields and intensified land use, mainly in Asia, Africa and Europe, the report asserts, adding that growth in Asia and Africa will come from inter-cropping of pulses with cereals especially because of smallholder cultivation.

However, growth in yield improvement in pulses will continue to lag behind cereals and oilseeds in the absence of supportive policies, inadequate irrigation facilities, and breakthroughs in high yielding seeds.

The report observes that world pulses trade grew from 13 m t to 17 m t over the past decade and is projected to reach 19 m t by 2030. India’s recent efforts to become self-sufficient in pulses are a major factor driving the anticipated slowdown in global pulses trade. Interestingly, the report forecast that imports by India are expected to level off by 2030 at 5 m t.

Of course, this is not good news for major exporters such as Canada and Australia servicing the Indian market for long years. Canada and Australia will continue to remain two of the world’s largest exporters, reaching volumes of 8 m t and 2.4 m t respectively by 2030. This means major origins will now have to start scouting for new markets to diversify the destination.

Pulses are expected to regain importance in the diets in many regions of the world. Global average annual per capita food use will increase by 9 kg by 2030.

By far the largest producer, India accounted for 24 per cent of global production in the past decade, followed by Canada (8 per cent) and the European Union (5 per cent).

As the Asian market accounts for more than half of all consumption but only about 45 per cent of production, it becomes the most significant import destination, and the report points out.

Source: OECD-FAO and Hindu Business

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