India is a critically important market for the Australian and global pulse industry. Over the past five years India has purchased more than 50% of Australia’s pea and chickpea crops, nearly 40% of Australia’s mungbeans and 20% of Australian lentils.
Recent actions by the Indian government, including imposing tariffs on chickpeas, lentils and quotas on mungbeans, have resulted in a collapse in trade and decline in Australian pulse prices.
India produced a record pulse crop in 2016/17 of 23 million tonnes. Production in the current season (2017/18) expected to be another record, up 5-15% year-on-year, with harvest currently underway. As a result India is forecast to be largely self-sufficient for pulses in the current season.
The implication of self-sufficiency is that India is likely to be a negligible buyer of pulses from international markets in 2018. Import restrictions are likely to stay in place. This presents risks for farm-gate pulse prices in Australia over 2018. What happens in 2019 will be dependent upon India’s monsoon season (June-September).
Growers should be aware that the Indian pulse market can change very rapidly, with local seasonal factors playing a major role. These changes could potentially be either positive or negative for Australian trade and prices.
Representatives from the Australian grain and pulse industry recently attended a range of meetings with Indian Government and industry leaders in India, along with representatives from other pulse producing countries. The link to the GIMAF’s report is available here:
GrainGrowers, in conjunction with other industry bodies, continues to work with the Australian Government to pursue lower trade barriers in the Indian grain and pulse market.