Imports of yellow peas to alleviate potential chickpea shortages

16 March 2024

Imports of yellow peas to alleviate potential chickpea shortages

India is both a major consumer and cultivator of pulses, meeting a significant portion of its consumption demands through imports. Desi Chickpeas, Lentils, Pigeon Peas, Black Matpe, Kabuli, and Mung rank among the primary pulses consumed in India.

The demand for chickpeas in India has consistently remained high, primarily fuelled by domestic consumption. However, recent fluctuations in weather patterns and other factors have disrupted chickpea cultivation, raising concerns about a potential supply shortfall. In response to this challenge and to stabilize the market, Indian authorities are turning to imports of yellow peas to fulfil the country's pulse demand.

According to an official gazette notification on February 22, 2024, India has extended the timeline for the duty-free import of yellow peas by one month, now valid through April 2024. In a move dating back to December 7, 2023, the central government had initially allowed duty-free imports of yellow peas until March 2024 as part of efforts to moderate the prices of the overall pulse basket. It's worth noting that the duty on yellow peas was initially imposed in November 2017 at 50 percent. India predominantly sources yellow peas from countries such as Canada and Russia.

Anticipated import volumes of yellow peas are estimated to range between 1.5 to 1.7 million metric tons by 2024. This projection stems from expectations of a potential shortfall in chickpea supply attributed to diminished crop yields and weather-related obstacles in states such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan. Projections for the 2024/25 chickpea crop suggest a reduction in size by approximately 9% to 10% compared to the previous year, with a decrease of 7% in chickpea-seeded acreage compared to the prior year.

Projected carry-forward stocks of chickpeas for the 2024/25 period are estimated to reach approximately 1.6 million metric tons. Of this total, the government is expected to hold 1 million metric tons, while the remaining portion will be available in the market. With the tightening of chickpea supply, there is an anticipated shift in demand towards yellow peas.

In January 2024, India imported 158 thousand metric tons of yellow peas. The primary supplier was Russia, exporting 116 thousand metric tons, followed by Turkey with 33 thousand metric tons.