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A Tata Strategic Analysis report indicated that by the year 2018, India will require 38 million tons of pulses to meet its population's nutritional requirements. The current demand-supply gap entails the country payin..

12 Sep 2011

By Amit Sridharan
Pulses, the most important source of protein in the diet of almost every Indian, have long been marginalised. The green revolution of the 1960s and 70s successfully addressed the production of grains like wheat, rice and maize that provided food for the population, but it left out the cultivation of pulses.

For India’s 1.1 billion population, it is pulses that contribute a very large part of the family’s protein needs, much more than milk, eggs or meat. Statistics reveal that India is the world's largest producer, consumer and also importer of pulses.

A Tata Strategic Analysis report indicated that by the year 2018, India will require 38 million tons of pulses to meet its population's nutritional requirements. The current demand-supply gap entails the country paying huge import bills to meet its pulses needs, a burden which is passed on to the consumer.

Addressing the farm side
Tata Chemicals saw this impending crisis and launched a campaign called ‘The MoPu (More Pulses)’ to undertake initiatives to address the issue. The campaign aimed at promoting the cultivation and availability of pulses in India is being driven by Rallis and TATA Chemicals.

One of the first pilots as part of this initiative was in Tamilnadu as a PPP with the support of TN-IAMWARM (Irrigated Agricultural Modernisation and Water Resource Management - A Government of Tamil Nadu and World Bank project). The objective was to plan and execute on-ground initiatives for enhancing Black Gram cultivation in Tamil Nadu through providing:

a. Quality black gram seeds for farmers b. Critical technology interventions to increase yield per acre through a PoP (Package of Practices) c. Mechanism to buy-back at an attractive price

For the pilot 3 blocks in Pudukkottai district (Gandarvakottai, Karamabakudi, and Kunnandarkoil) were chosen covering 1000 acres of area. In these areas, Rallis created multiple farmer commodity groups. Each group has a maximum of 19 farmers with a president and secretary. The groups engage with Rallis for the right cultivation practices, inputs and selling of material. Through these commodity groups, it is easier for the farmers to adopt new technology and services. Also, the buy-back plan has also been routed through the commodity group concept.

For bringing in quality seeds, the Vamban research center of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) provided Rallis with breeder seeds for multiplication. Rallis has developed seed farms to multiply and produce quality black gram seeds.

Rallis along with TNAU scientists identified stages for intervention in the agricultural practices followed by the farmers in the area that included seed treatment, soil health, techniques of cultivation and pest management.

Through identified solutions in each of the areas, Rallis has helped improve farmers yield by 40% to 500 kg/ac thereby ‘increasing’ the farmer income by another Rs. 5000 per acre.

PoP booklets, demonstrations and farmers diary have been included as part of farmer education programs in the area. Such “Farm to Fork” initiatives were also undertaken at other places like Malerkotla, Punjab for Green Gram (Moong) and Latur, Maharashtra and Gulbarga, Karnataka for Pigeon Pea (Toor).

Addressing the distribution side
The bought raw produce is processed under stringent Quality Standards by TATA Chemicals at a Mill selected by Tata Chemicals. The processed Pulses (Dals) are packed in a hygienic and clean environment at the Packing Centers.

These Dals are then distributed through the extensive distribution network of TATA Salt under the brand name “I – Shakti Dals”. I-Shakti Dals override on the existing infrastructure of systems, teams and channel partners distributing salt. The synergy in distribution is leveraged as the channel partners are now able to receive clubbed orders of pulses along with salt and are servicing retail outlets for both pulses and salt.

Within a very short time, I-Shakti Dal is now available in 10 biggest states of India and shortly they will be available nationally.

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