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Gram (Chana)

Chana, one of the major pulses (commonly called daals) cultivated and consumed in India, is also known as Bengal gram or gram or chickpea. Chana is a major and cheap source of protein compared to animal protein. Chana is scientifically known as Cicer aritinum and is reportedly originated from western Asia (Turkey).

In India, main types of chickpea are cultivated viz., Desi and Kabuli in the ratio of 3:1 and chana accounts for about 45% of total pulses produced in the country. Similar to the case of other pulses, India is the major producing country for chana, contributing for over 75% of total production in the world.


Economic Importance
Chana is cultivated for its seeds. They are rich source of protein and form an important part of vegetarian diet. Chana seeds contain about 17-20% of protein.

Climate and Cultivation
Gram is an important rabi crop mainly sown in September-November and harvested in February. Crop duration is 90-120 days, depending on the variety. Desi varieties are short duration while kabuli varieties take relatively longer period to mature. Similarly, cooler areas like northern India take longer period, compared to relatively warm weather in southern parts of India. It is best suited to areas having low to moderate rainfall and a mild cold weather. Excessive rains soon after sowing or at flowering stage are harmful for the crop. Severe cold is injurious, and is very harmful. It is best suited to areas having moderate rainfall of 60-90 cm per annum. It has an indeterminate growth habit, which means that the growth cycle extends as long as moisture is available.

Crop Calendar

 

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

March

April

North India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South & central India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sowing 

 

 

Harvesting

 

World Scenario
Chickpea is the third most important pulse crop, after dry bean and peas, produced in the world. It accounts for 20% of the world pulses production. Major producers of chickpea include India, Pakistan, and Mexico. Global production, as per the latest available estimates of Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), is about 12 million metric tons in 2011. India is the largest producer, with about 8 million tons, accounting for about 70% of total world production. Six countries including India, Australia, Turkey, Myanmar, Pakistan and Ethiopia account for about 90% of world chickpea production.


Source: Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)


India is also the largest consumer of chickpea in the world. As a result, the country occupied second place in world trade despite contributing for about 70% of world’s total production. According to the latest available estimates by the FAO, Pakistan is the largest importer while Australia is the largest exporter in the world in 2011. However,
India is a net-importer for most of the period and hence any fluctuations in world production may have an impact on domestic prices.


Table 1: Major global trade contributors as in 2011

Importers

Share (%)

Exporters

Share (%)

 

Pakistan

28

Australia

37

India

14

India

16

Bangladesh

10

Russian Federation

9

United Arab Emirates

9

Canada

6

Algeria

7

United States of America

6

Saudi Arabia

4

Argentina

5

Spain

4

Mexico

5

United Kingdom

4

Myanmar

5

Jordan

3

Ethiopia

4

Iran

3

Turkey

2

Others

14

Others

7

Source: Food and Agricultural Organisation

Domestic Scenario
Production of chana is concentrated in central and southern parts of India. Production trends during the past 15 years indicated that except for a few years in the early 2000s the output of chana fluctuated at around 6 million tonnes for over a decade till 2007-08. However, production has steadily increased thereafter and largely in tune with the trends in yield levels and reached a record 9.5 million tonnes in 2013-14. However, with a fall in acreage on account of lower prices, output may is expected to decline to 8.28 million tonnes in 2014-15.



State-wise Production Trends

Madhya Pradesh is the single largest producer in the country, accounting for over 40% of total production. Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Andhra Pradesh (AP) contributed about 14%, 10%, 9% and 7% respectively in 2011-12. Madhya Pradesh has always been the top producer of chana while the share of Rajasthan has declined significantly in 2000s. On the other hand, the share of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka has consistently been rising during the past 10 years. Further, states like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are expanding their area and production of chana crop.



Major Markets
Spot markets: Mumbai, Indore, Delhi, Chenai, Kanpur and Hyderabad.

Futures Trading:
The variety offered for futures trading is only Desi chana. Futures are offered on NCDEX.

External Trade
India imports chana despite being the single largest producer as its consumption requirements are high. A similar situation is noted in most of the other chana producing countries like Myanmar and Pakistan. However, the per capita consumption of chana in India is estimated to be less at 5.7 kg per year, compared to that of Myanmar at 6.6 kg per year and that of Turkey at 6.4kg per year.
India’s external trade in chana reflects the general consumption pattern. Exports of pulses are in general banned and so are the chana exports as they are part of essential commodities. However, certain verities of chana like, superior quality kabuli chana are allowed to export and they alone form the whole exports of chana from India.

On the other hand, India imports desi chana varieties from surplus countries like Australia and Canada. Imports have been fluctuating over a period ranging from 1 to 3.5 million tonnes a year, depending on the availability and production trends.

Table 2: Trends in Trade and Supply (lakh tons)

 

Opening Stocks

Production

Import

Consumption

Closing Stocks

2010-11

5.0

82.2

1.0

85.21

3.0

2011-12

3.0

77.0

2.1

79.56

2.5

2012-13

2.5

88.3

7.0

95.27

2.6

2013-14

2.6

95.3

2.8

91.20

9.5

2014-15SAE

9.5

82.8

2.8

91.00

4.1

P: Projections       SAE: Second Advanced Estimates
Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Directorate General of Foreign Trade

Major export destinations: Pakistan, UAE, Turkey, Algeria and Sri Lanka.

Major export sources: Australia and Canada.

Factors Influencing Chana Prices

  • Crop: Extent of area sown under the crop, condition of the crop and thereby the expectation. 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. To some extent yellow peas for chana but they are not perfect substitutes.

 

·         Government intervention policies: Any change in government policy relating to the crops such as

o   Changes in minimum support prices

o   Direct procurement by the government agencies and storage in warehouses

o   Restriction on stock holding limits of the commodity

o   Change in tariffs and

o   Ban or changes in external trade policies with respect to the commodity.

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