Pulses Production, Consumption and International Trade In India

Pulses are leguminous crops that constitute an essential part of Indian diet because nearly 43% of all Indians are vegetarian (urban-48% rural-41%) and pulses are important protein source. The main pulses grown in India include chickpea or Bengal gram, pigeon pea or red gram or arhar,  lentil (masur in Hindi), urdbean or black gram, mungbean or green gram, moth bean, horse gram, pea, grass pea or khesari, cow pea, broad etc.


As per the fourth Advance Estimates for 2013-14, the production of pulses is projected to be 19.3 million tonnes. India is largest pulse producer of the world accounting for 25% of world’s pulses production. Among various pulse crops, chickpea dominates with over 40 percent share of total pulse production followed by pigeonpea (18-20%), mungbean (11%), urdbean (10-12%), lentil (8-9%) and other legumes (20%). According to 2014 figures, Madhya Pradesh is India’s largest pulse producing state with 26% share in overall production. It is followed by Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

Area under pulses Production

Between 2009 and 2013, the average area under pulses production was 23.9 million hectare. This is around 12-13% acreage among all crops.

Growth trends in pulse area / production

In last 60 years, neither the acreage nor the yield has grown substantially. The total production of pulses in recent years has been around 17-19 million tonnes; while area under pulses production has been between 22 and 26 million hectares.

Consumption and Import dependency

Against the production of 17-19 million tonnes, consumption of pulses in India has been around 22-23 million tonnes. Thus India needs to import pulses every year to fulfil the domestic demand. India’s import dependency in pulses is always around 16-20%. This is evident with the data from a recent Assocham study.

The above information shows that India is world’s largest producer as well as consumer as well as importer of the world.

Export Figures

India is also one of the largest exporters of pulses in the world.  Chickpeas contribute the single largest share in India’s export basket of pulses registering 97.18% and 85.64% share in the total pulses export during 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively.


In India, pulses are produced in Kharif, Rabi as well as Zaid Seasons. Chickpea, lentil, and dry peas are grown in the Rabi season, while pigeonpea, urdbean, mungbean, and cowpea are grown during the kharif season. Moongbean and Urad also also grown in Zaid season. Most of the pulses in India are produced in Rainfed areas.

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