THE AUSTRALIAN pulse industry continues to grapple with the nuances of government policy regarding pulse imports in our most important pulse export market, India.
ProFarmer’s Ron Storey said volatility in pulse pricing was not only due to seasonal variability and production downfalls, but said short-term peaks and troughs could be created by Indian government policy.
He said price spikes and dips could occur as both the Indian central government and the governments of the provinces manipulated the legal system trying to maintain food security for India’s large population while also trying to keep local pulse production steady.
Last year there were issues as Indian authorities sought to enforce anti-hoarding legislation, designed to stop traders from artificially inflating prices.
However, there have been concerns raised from the Australian pulse trade that the administration of these types of laws, frequently drafted over half a century ago, cause more problems than they solve, as intermediaries cannot purchase the volumes they wish to.
Ultimately, they say privately, the rules mean pulses are slower to reach the end-users because they are kept out of India for longer, meaning both sellers and consumers bear additional costs.
Indian government policy is not the only issue for Australian pulse exporters, who also keenly watch any changes in government rhetoric in other export markets such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.