Various occupy an important place in Indian agriculture. In India, there are grown over an area of 23.8 million hectares with a total production of 18.6 million tonnes. The average yield of pulses in India is about 735 kg/hectare. The country need to produce 405 million tonnes of additional pulses for meeting the domestic requirement and this can be possible only if we develop high yielding, short duration, drought and insect pest resistance varieties of pulses. In the rainy season, pulses like green gram, black gram, pigeon pea and cow pea are the most important and leading pulse crops of India.
Chick pea, lentil, lathyrus, field pea and kidney bean are the important pulse crops grown during winter season. However, green gram, black gram and cowpea are grown in both spring and rainy season. Pulses are generally grown in irrigated as well as rain fed area and belong to leguminaceae family. (Main growing areas of pulses in India are Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan. Madhya Pradesh is the leading state in India in pulses, in1erms of cultivated area and productivity.
Factors Responsible for Low Yield of Pulses
Low seed rate resulting in poor crop stands
Poor weed management during making quick money in India
Inefficient irrigation and rain water management
Large scale monoculture and non-inclusion of pulses in cropping systems
Lack of consideration of previous cropping in the same field
Inadequate plant protection.
Non-availability of seeds of HYVs at affordable price and at the appropriate time
Lack of more efficient N using genotypes
Imbalanced use of fertilizers
Poor management for secondary and micronutrient, mainly 5, Zn, MN, Fe and B.
India has already enjoyed five decades of post green revolution period. The projected requirement of pulses by the year 2030 is estimated at about 32 million tonnes. Pulses play a pivotal role in enhancing livelihood security, nutritional security, food security, soil health, farm profit and environmental sustainability. Thus pulses are premier crops cultivated in Indian subcontinent.
Indian population is predominantly vegetarian. Pulses and its products are a rich source of essential nutrients like protein, minerals and vitamins. Pulses can easily meet the protein requirement of a vegetarian diet. As diet of Indians is deficient in respect of quality and quantity of protein, mixing of pulses grains with other cereals enhances the nutritive value of the food. Pulses are also a cost effective alternate to ameliorate energy protein/ nutrient elements deficiency in the country: Several serious diseases in human beings can be prevented by regular intake of pulses.
India has only three per cent of the world’s land resources and five per cent of water resources. Yet, Indian agriculture system supports 18 per cent of the world population. Since resources, viz. land, water and energy are limited, scarce, costly and having competing demand for urbanization industrialization and meeting farming needs. Further: degrading of soil health is posing major concerns for’ agricultural sustainability. Low soil organic matter and imbalanced use of fertilizers are affecting pulse crops productivity.
A deficient monsoon followed by a further dry spell for the past few years has affected pulses production. The production of pulses in India has remained insufficient making us dependent on imports. The demand for these food commodities is expected to increase in future substantially. India is the world’s largest producer, importer and consumer of pulses our annual import bill for pulses is Rs 100,000 million.
Thus, there is a great need for increasing production of pulses as par capita availability of pulses is only 37 g/day as against 54 g/day required to fulfil the protein requirement under changing climate scenario, more emphasis shall be given on achieving the target of 24 million tonnes of pulses production by 2020 so as to make the country self-sufficient and reduce the burden of import bill substantially Further, pulse seed production hubs are being developed in various regions to ensure availability of quality seeds of pulses to farmers.
The per capita availability of pulses has progressively declined from 65 g/ day in 1961 to merely 39.4 g in 2011, whereas, availability of cereals has gone up from 399.7 to 423.5g.
Under National Food Security Mission pulses cultivation has been started in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and all the North East states. Salient points of National Food Security Mission are given below.