India witnesses an extraordinary surge in pulse imports, with volumes soaring by 113% in H1 2023-24, valued at over $1.26 billion. Led by lentils, arhar, and urad, the import landscape is reshaping, driven by erratic rains impacting domestic production. Slow tur shipments, removal of tariffs, and optimistic crop projections hint at a robust year for pulse imports, poised to surpass the previous fiscal’s figures.


Pulses Import Surge: Pulses imports into India more than doubled in the first half (April-September) of the financial year 2023-24 due to erratic and insufficient rainfall affecting domestic production.

Import Volume Increase: Pulses imports in terms of volume increased by approximately 113%, reaching over 14.85 lakh tonnes during April-September 2023-24, compared to 6.98 lakh tonnes in the same period the previous year.

Import Value Growth: In dollar terms, the value of pulse imports grew by more than 113%, exceeding $1.26 billion during April-September 2023-24, compared to $595 million in the same period a year ago. In rupee terms, the import bill increased by 122% to ₹10,440 crore.

Lentils Leading Import Growth: The surge in pulses imports is primarily led by higher purchases of lentils (masur), arhar (tur), and urad. Lentil imports registered a significant growth of 184% during April-September, reaching 8.02 lakh tonnes compared to 2.81 lakh tonnes a year ago.

Expected Increase in Lentil Imports: The off-take of masur dal is expected to increase further, and lentil imports may exceed a million tonnes in the current financial year, especially with the removal of retaliatory customs tariffs on lentils sourced from the US.

Tur and Urad Imports: Imports of tur (arhar) increased by 75%, reaching 2.74 lakh tonnes, and urad imports grew by about 39%, exceeding 2.40 lakh tonnes during April-September 2023-24.

Slow Tur Shipments: Tur imports could have been higher, but the pace of shipments has been slow, with sources indicating that trade in Eastern Africa, mainly Mozambique, is taking advantage of the scarcity.

Outlook for the Fiscal Year: Overall, pulses acreage is trailing last year’s levels due to a sluggish pace of gram sowing. However, the overall pulses imports for the current fiscal year are expected to exceed last year’s levels, with new crops of tur and urad anticipated from end-January.

Production Estimates: As per the Agriculture Ministry’s first advance estimates, the production of tur is estimated to be 34.21 lakh tonnes, similar to the output of the previous year.


Despite domestic production challenges fueled by unpredictable weather patterns, India’s strategic moves in pulse imports, especially lentils, tur, and urad, reflect resilience in meeting demand. The removal of tariffs and promising crop projections suggest a favorable outlook for the fiscal year, highlighting the nation’s adaptability in ensuring a steady supply of essential food staples amidst agricultural uncertainties.