Why pulses? Source: Principles of Nutrition and Dietetics, primary research

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1 Why pulses? Pulses as a source of protein: It s a fact that Indians today are consuming far less protein than they used to. Protein consumption in rural India has dropped from 63.5g / capita / day in 1983 to 55.8g / capita / day in 2005 and in urban India from 58.1 to 55.4 g / capita / day during the same period. A large proportion of the Indian population is vegetarian, and pulses are an important source of protein in the daily diet, as they are as much as per cent protein. Just as significant for India, pulses happen to be one of the most economical sources of protein for humans. (See Fig 1) Fig 1: Comparative protein content Source Protein Content (per kg) Avg. Price (Rs. Per kg) Avg. Cost of Protein Consumption (Rs. per 100 g) Milk 3.2% Poultry Meat 18-20% Eggs 14% Pulses 18-25% 85 Source: Principles of Nutrition and Dietetics, primary research Wholesome food: Besides high protein content, pulses are beneficial for human health in a variety of ways. Some of the nutritional benefits and corresponding health benefits are: Low fat / high complex carbohydrate content Dieting Reduction of plasma cholesterol Cardiovascular disease Low glycemic index Diabetes Colonic bacterial fermentation Bowel health Phytochemical content Anti-cancer agents India does not produce enough pulses: India produces a quarter of the world s total production of pulses, accounting for one-third of the total global acreage under pulses. Indians consume 30 per cent of the world s pulses, but domestic production of pulses has not kept pace with population growth. Pulses production has grown at only 1 per cent CAGR from compared to a population growth of about 2 per cent during

2 the same period. Per capita domestic production of pulses has dropped from 63 g in 1951 to 36 g in (see Fig 2) Fig 2: Indian per capita pulse production 40.0 India Pulses per capita (g/ day) Pulses (Mn tons) Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Agriculture Organization Huge demand-supply gap: In India, the practice of importing pulses has been increasing and currently contributes to about 20 per cent of total consumption. In ,.1 million tonnes of pulses were produced in India, but domestic consumption was in excess of 18 million tonnes. The balance (nearly 3 million tonnes) was imported. The World Health Organization recommends 80 g / capita / day of pulses consumption for India. Based on this recommendation and expected population growth, India will require about million tonnes of pulses by FY (see Fig 3) This is a huge demand supply gap that needs to be filled. Fig 3: Projected Indian pulse demand India Pulses Projected Demand (Mn tons) X% CAGR 40 Pulses Demand (Mn tons) Imports 8% P

3 Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Agriculture Organization, WHO, Tata Strategic analysis Low productivity: The reason for the gap between demand and availability has been the low productivity of pulses in India. Overall, the production of pulses has grown only 45 per cent (cumulative) between 1951 and 2008, compared to that of wheat and rice, which have grown manifold (at 320 per cent and 230 per cent, respectively) during the same period, due mainly to government schemes and the effects of the Green Revolution. In India, pulse crop yields (amount produced per hectare) are abysmally low, averaging approximately 600kg / ha. Globally, the average yield is in the range of 819kg / ha, but top-producing countries such as Canada and the US have yields of about 1900kg / ha. France achieves much higher yields, of about 4000kg / ha, but on a smaller production base of <1 million tonnes. Indian agriculture has a long way to go to catch up. Potential to improve: By adopting some of the best practices across the world, India has the potential to increase its average yield to about 1200kg / ha (see Fig 4). India can increase production through several routes: Increasing total acreage under pulses by converting rice fallow lands, adopting intercropping, using short duration seeds, etc Improving yields for pulses by using new varieties of seeds such as high yield, hybrid, treated, pest and disease-resistant, and through proper crop protection, pest management, crop nutrition, etc Reducing post harvest losses by treating for storage pests, increasing the pulseprocessing infrastructure, building an efficient supply-chain mechanism, etc. Fig 4: Ways Indian pulse production could be improved

4 India pulses production improvement (Mn tons) INDICATIVE Current HYV Seeds Pest Managem ent Irrigation/ Nutrient supply Storage/ Transportation Increased yield Additional Area Total availability 25% increase in yield due to use of HYV seeds. (Potential 35-40%) 25% increase due to pest management. (Potential 30-40%) 20% increase due to supply of irrigation and nutrients. (Potential 20-25%) % increase due to proper storage. (Potential 20%) Increase due to additional area - rice fallows & intercropping Note : Upland paddy areas, North east hill areas, etc. not considered Pulses and the planet: Pulses are some of the most ecologically sustainable agricultural solutions for the soil. Pulses grow on rainfed soil, ie the crops do not require irrigation. By growing pulses, farmers can actually increase soil fertility. Pulses are leguminous crops; they have a natural ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. Legume plants have a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria known as Rhizobia that live in their root nodules. These bacteria take nitrogen, an essential plant nutrient, from the air and conver it to a form that can be used by plants. The benefits from adopting pulses as a rotational crop include: An increased supply of soil nitrogen through nitrogen fixation approximately 40kg / ha of nitrogen Agronomic benefits for the succeeding crop better crop quality (for instance, protein premium in wheat) and improved yield The cultivation of pulses has several benefits for the Indian farming community and society in general:

5 Reduction of fertiliser costs, as farmers do not need to use nitrogen-based inputs Natural rejuvenation of the soil, as pulse crops fix nitrogen Low water usage, as the crops do not require extensive irrigation Reduction in CO 2 emissions, as there is a reduced need for fertilisers and subsequently, fossil fuels that are used to manufacture fertilisers Reduction in greenhouse gases (along with the absorption of CO 2, pulse crops also lower nitrous oxide levels in the atmosphere by their ability to fix nitrogen) Providing an vegetarian alternative to animal protein