Black gram is a member of the Asiatic Vigna crop group. It is an annual pulse grown mostly as a fallow crop in rotation with rice. Similar to the other pulses, black gram, being a legume, enriches soil nitrogen content and has relatively short (90-120 days) duration of maturity.

Black gram is scientifically known as Phasiolus mungo and it is commonly known as Urad in India. India is its primary origin and is mainly cultivated in Asian countries including Pakistan, Myanmar and parts of southern Asia. About 70%t of world's black gram production comes from India.

Economic importance:

Urad is grown primarily for its protein rich seeds.

Used as daal and as ingredient in snacks like idli, dosa, vada and papad.

Seasons and cultivation

Black gram is a warm weather crop and comes up in areas receiving an annual rainfall ranging from 600 to 1000mm. It is mainly cultivated in a cereal-pulse cropping system primarily to conserve soil nutrients and utilize the left over soil moisture particularly, after rice cultivation. Hence, although it can be grown in all the seasons, majority of black gram cultivation falls in either rabi or late rabi seasons particularly in peninsular India.

Optimum temperature range for growth is 27-30oC. A dry harvest period is desirable as this forces the crop to mature and reduces the risk of weather damage. It comes up well on water retentive soils but cannot stand saline and alkaline conditions. Black gram is more tolerant of water logging than moong bean.

Crop calendar

Domestic scenario

India is the world's largest producer as well as consumer of black gram. It produces about 1.5 to 1.9 million tons of urad annually from about 3.5 million hectares of area, with an average productivity of 500kg per hectare. Black gram output accounts for about 10% of India's total pulse production.

Urad production in the country remained stable more than a decade through the 2000s at around 12 to 14 lakh tons. But a sudden jump in output was noted in 2010-11 to 17.5 lakh tonnes primarily on account of rise in production from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

State-wise production

Urad production in the country is largely concentrated in five states viz, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. These five states together contribute for about 65% of total urad production in the country.

There is a distinct change in production pattern of urad across states. Traditionally Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are major urad producing states. But there is significant rise in production from other states in recent years particularly, from Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. Nevertheless, production remained volatile across the years with respect to most of the states.

As per the latest available estimates, UP and Andhra Pradesh occupy the first two positions, contributing over 40%. Maharashtra contributes about 14% while Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh account for about 10% and t 8.5% respectively of total production in the country.

Trends in output in major producing states

Important varieties:

Type 27, Type 56, Pusa 1, Pant 430, Khargone 3, ADT 1 to 3, HPU 6, T 65, LBG 402, LBG 22, LBG 20

Major markets

Spot markets
Central India: Mumbai, Jalgaon, Latur, Akola, Indore, Bhopal, Vidisha
Northern India: Delhi, Kanpur, Hapur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana
Southern India: Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Gulbarga, Sirsa, Sangrur, Chennai

Futures markets:

Futures' trading in urad was suspended in 2007.

External Trade

India is a net importer of urad. Imports are mainly sourced from Myanmar to meet the domestic demand. These imports have been hovering around 2 to 5 lakh tonnes during the past few years.

Major export destinations: NA

Major import sources: Myanmar

Factors influencing prices
  • Crop: Extent of area sown under the crop, condition of the crop and thereby the expectation of output. Rainfall and weather conditions that could affect the crop output.
  • Demand expectation: Any changes in demand both domestic as well as international markets.
  • Imports: Demand supply situation in major import sources.
  • Prices of related commodities or substitutes.
  • Government intervention policies: Any change in government policy relating to the crops such as
    • Changes in minimum support prices (MSP)
    • Direct procurement by the government agencies and storage in warehouses
    • Restriction on stock holding limits of the commodity
    • Change in tariffs and
    • Ban or changes in external trade policies with respect to the commodity.

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