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Gram production may exceed estimates

LAHORE: Considering the sufficient rains this season, stakeholders expect the production of chickpeas, known as gram, to surpass earlier estimates.

“Rain spells are considered sufficient and are likely to help harvest 0.4 to 0.5 million tons of gram, despite a one-fifth reduction in the sowing area this year, mainly due to restrictions on planting the crop on government land,” said Pulses Importer and Exporter Association Punjab Secretary Danial Ahmad on Friday.

Last year, owing to scarce rainfall, only 0.3 million tons of gram was produced. The most severe drought was witnessed over the last 10 years in 2012 when no considerable amount of rain came in the gram crop area in Punjab, pushing down production to a mere 0.18 million tons.

The price outlook of gram crop looks good as far as the consumers are concerned. Restrictions imposed by India, the biggest consumer of pulses in the world, by slapping duty and taxes has led to a glut-like situation globally, so the pulses market is broadly very much depressed.

Referring to the domestic demand for gram, Ahmad said, the consumption of chickpeas in the country was estimated at 0.55 million tons in the current year. “We are hoping that the production of 0.4 to 0.5 million tons with carryover stock will be sufficient to meet local demand. Hence, no sizeable imports are being anticipated at this point in time, especially when compared with the trend of last year,” he said.

In the preceding year, he recalled, nearly 8,000 containers of chickpeas had been imported since March 2018, bringing 180,000 tons of the commodity.