The term pulse is latin terminology and it refers to “dried seed”. Pulses are good source of proteins which are essential for human health as proteins are building blocks of body, for human being it is cheap item to get proteins as compared to meat an animal source of protein.
Moreover pulses are easy to cook, have different varieties with respect to taste,size and shape of grain and its nutritional values,pulses can be used in different dishes and can be stored for longer time because of long shelf life as compared to meat . Understanding the importance of pulses United Nations ‘s(UN) 68th General Assembly declared “2016” as “International Year of Pulses”.
Pulses are cultivated all over the world but in Pakistan it is being cultivated on 5% of total cultivated area of crops and chickpea,black gram,mung bean.pigeon pea, mash,masoor and few others are grown.
In Pakistan pulses are grown on 1.5 million hectors of land. Chickpea play a vital role in country’s pulses production as it is cultivated on 73% of the total area occupied by pulses cultivation and its contribution to the total pulses production is 76% while mash and masoor consumes 2%( each )of area under pulses cultivation and share 1.4% in total pulses production.
Mung Bean an easily digestible item is one of the important pulse crop of Pakistan, it is mainly grown in southern parts of Punjab and Sindh. Punjab alone provides 88% area for its cultivation and share 85% in its total production in the country.
On an average every Pakistani consumes 6-7 kg of pulses annually which shows the interest of Pakistani people in pulses which is increasing demand and supply gap as Pakistan doesn’t have enough domestic production to meet the requirement of its country men, its domestic production of pulses was 0.45 million tonnes in 2014 which was 0.75 million tonns in 2013 much lower than demand.
Pakistan spent $139.096 million of foreign exchange in the fiscal year 2010-2011 to meet the domestic requirements of pulses by importing 628.508 thousand tonnes of pulses. 444.7776 thousand tonnes were imported during 2009-2010 according to available reports, these reports show increasing import trend as country spent $224.135 million in July2014-january 2015 and imported 370,181 metric tonns compared to $165.160 million in July2013-January2014 and imported volume of 262,509 metric tonnes, Country’s import volume of pulses was raised by 32.41 % as 63,130 metric tonnes were imported in January 2015 compared to 47,679 metric tonnes in same period of 2014.
Pakistan is mainly depended on Canada,Australia,Burma,Tanzania,Euthiopia to full fill the domestic requirement of pulses which is about 0.6 metric tonnes every year.
Major challenges faced by pulses sector in Pakistan are, farmers get lower prices for their outputs due to this farmers are switching to another crops for their bread and butter, role of middle men, lack of modern technology, machinery ,improper harvesting, improper sowing,delay or early sowing of seeds, non certified seeds, less resistant varieties of pulses, lack of interest of Government or improper Government policies and lack of research on pulses to increase productions. if work is done on these issues Pakistan will be able to produce and full fill domestic needs and it will also create more employment opportunities where other cash crops cant be grown.
Agri Analyst /ABM- Specialist
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