The Book Pulses for Nutrition in India: Changing Pattern from Farm to Fork was published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), in December 2017.
For a long time, India’s pulse production had been nearly stagnant, but volatility in prices and production in recent years make the continuing growth in pulses a big challenge for researchers, extension agencies, and policymakers.
Pulses are mainly produced by small farmers on marginal lands and face abiotic stresses like moisture, drought, and elevated temperature as well as biotic stresses like pests. This often leads to huge losses, reducing production by up to 20 per cent.
The green revolution pushed pulses away from irrigated areas, with nearly 87 per cent now being grown in rainfed areas. Despite their importance to diet and nutrition in India, yield improvement and technology development have been far more extensive in cereals compared to pulses.
The eight chapters in the book cover the journey of pulses across the value chain, from understanding final demand and supply, production, consumption, prices to trade, technology, processing, markets and government interventions.
Pulses, often considered as poor man’s meat and their ‘only’ significant source of protein, are particularly important for vegetarians. Yet, production of pulses has been insufficient to meet the rising demand, resulting in persistent increases in imports as well as prices. Price support is effective in cereals in some areas, but without procurement, in pulses their role is limited to benchmarking traders’ offer price.
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