ISLAMABAD: The ‘World Pulses Day’ is being observed on Wednesday to raise awareness of nutritional benefits of pulses and their contribution to sustainable food systems.

In Pakistan, pulses production has stagnated since decades caused by the absence of growth in area planted and yields. Consumption has increased steadily while imports rose alarmingly.

A recent paper on economic review of the pulses sector and pulses-related policies in Pakistan presented at the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research project review, points out that the government supports agriculture through subsidies on fertiliser, water and energy, however these subsidies distort markets and prices and favour more fertiliser-intensive crop production over pulse production, which requires relatively less fertiliser.

The government also implements procurement price for wheat, which discourages pulse production by making pulses relatively less profitable and riskier to produce compared with wheat, according to the paper.

In Pakistan, gram, masoor, mung and mash are important pulse crops. Last year, the combined production of all four crops was around 0.7 million tons with dominant share of 80 per cent of gram. The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) says the total area under major pulse crops in Pakistan is about 1.3 million hectares.

There are a number of factors which respond to low productivity of pulses in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2021

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