Agri Commodities Pulses

Impact of Covid -19 on Pulses Exports

Impact of Covid 19 on Pulses Exports

Pulses are a rich source of protein and are consumed in the form of split-grain, whole grain, flour, and dehulled split grain. They are the edible dry seeds of the plants belonging to the Leguminosae family. Different types of pulses are grown in the world. Pulses are categorized into major and minor categories, depending upon the production and world consumption. The world pulse industry showed a substantial growth rate over the last few decades. However, the global pandemic affected the pulse industry in every aspect like production and pulses exports. But, the effect of the corona pandemic on pulses, grain, and oilseed sector was not as bad as compared to the other Agri-commodities sector.

Impact of Covid -19 on Pulses Exports:

The global pandemic created a crisis situation among Agri-commodity suppliers/buyers in the world trading sector. The Agri-commodity sector is a broad sector covering various food markets like rice, wheat, oilseed, branded products, pulses, etc.

The market for grains, rice, pulses, and oilseeds is one of the largest markets in the Agri-commodity sector. The minor commodities of this sector include other stuff like teff, quinoa, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lentils, kidney beans, etc. There are several big and small players in this sector.

The big traders dominate the large commodities sector, whereas the medium and small enterprises hold a good position in the minor commodities sector. However, both sectors in pulses exports are affected by a global pandemic.

The pulses exports industry was affected by Covid-19 to some extent. Some of the vital factors impacting the pulses import/export are:

  • Covid-19 varying impact  per product type
  • Trade restrictions impact
  • New Logistics measures
  • Quarantine time and measure

Statistical Facts:

The world pulses export had increased with a steady growth rate. The global export of various pulses in FY 1971 was 1918 thousand tons, which had increased to 13624 thousand tons in FY 2013. During this time span, the major pulses exported were chickpea, dry bean, Lentil, dry pea, and beans, etc.

The below table shows the pulses export from FY 2016 to FY 2020.

Financial Year Quantity (in MT)
2016-17 11,903,056
2017-18 13,499,137
2018-19 9,395,239
2019-2020 9,630,291


The pulses export gradually increased every year based on the country’s consumption. However, in the pandemic year, the global consumption of pulses decreased from 13,499,137 MT to 9,395,239 MT.

Factors Affecting the Pulses Export:

The pulses export of any country depends mainly on the demand of pulses import by other countries.  However, the pulses import demand is highly volatile depending upon domestic consumption. Various other factors that affect pulses import demand are:

  • Pulses prices in the global trade market
  • Domestic consumption
  • Livestock production
  • Prices of other commodities
  • Foreign exchange availability for low-income countries
  • Financing mechanism for imports

Survival of Pulses Exporter in Pandemic:

The global coronavirus pandemic has affected the present and future of the pulses industry. There was a decline in the demand for pulses in the pandemic. Moreover, the new trading rules and regulations and the digital technology also affected the pulses suppliers of this industry. The leveraging technology helped the traders to survive in this pandemic situation. Pulses traders are gradually shifting their business platform, i.e., from physical to digital. Online businesses survived this pandemic compared to the one present physically only.

Numerous B2B platforms help traders to trade their business globally. They offer various pulses packages that help to trade your business globally. However, the process is time taking, and the whole process is a hectic task.

Experts from the world’s first next-generation platform for Agri-commodities and branded products –, simplify the entire trading task. They execute every task from getting verified buyers/sellers to shipping. Buy or Sell any product with genuine traders only. The platform allows the buyers and sellers to negotiate in real-time without the interruption of any other person. Finalize the deal with the verified buyers/sellers without any Email or phone call.

Major Players of Pulses Export:

Realizing the importance of pulses in the human diet, these are grown in every continent.

  • Pulses Exporter:

Canada is the largest pulses exporter, followed by Russia, the USA, Myanmar, Australia, Ukraine, Argentina, and France. Out of total production, nearly 84% of pulses is used to meet the domestic demand of the country and the remaining 16% is used for international trading. Canada exports around 43, 59,946 MT of pulses in FY2018. As per the data, the Canadian pulse market touched a volume of 11 Million Metric Tons in FY2020. According to the experts, the Canadian pulse market grew at a CAGR of 5.5% during 2021-2026.

  • Largest Importers:

Pulses are a vital source of protein and act as secondary food with other staple food such as rice, grain, wheat, etc. According to the data about global pulses trade, India is the largest importer (14%) and consumer (27%) of Pulses. In FY 2018-19, India imported 2.527 million MT. According to the data provided by the government, India imports 50 % of pulses from Canada and Myanmar.

Other major pulse importers were China, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, the USA, Italy, UK, and Spain.

  • Largest Pulses Producers:

Apart from being the largest pulse importer, India is also the largest pulses producer. It alone produces 25% of global production. Apart from India, Canada, Myanmar, Nigeria, China, USA, Brazil, Australia, Tanzania, and Russia produce pulses also.

India’s Role in Pulses Industry:

Despite self-reliance, India is the world’s largest importer of pulses. In the FY 2013-14, India’s pulses production fell from 19.25 MT to 17.3 MT in 2014-15. To reduce the pulse import and to increase the export share in the world pulse market, the government of India asks the country’s farmers to cultivate more pulses within the country.  The increasing supportive prices of pulses and government interventions help the farmers to produce more pulses. In FY 2020-2021, India’s foodgrain output rises to 2.66%.

In the last few years, India has witnessed an exponential growth in pulse export. India is also a pulses exporter. In FY 2018-19, India had export around 2.70 lakh tons of pulses. Turkey, Sri Lanka, UAE, Algeria, and the US are the major markets of Indian pulses such as pigeon pea, chickpea, black matpe, lentils, and moong beans.  India is consequently working to reduce its pulses import.

India’s Import and Export of Major Pulses

Pulses/Year 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
Peas 7.62 4.44 2.00
Chickpeas 87.51 127.20 199.96
Moong/urad 10.56 16.75 15.80
Lentils 15.55 11.20 11.41
Pigeon Peas 12.30 10.54 8.20
Total Pulses 137.30 179.36 248.01


The quantities are in thousand of MT.


Several factors need to be taken into account to boost the pulses export from India. Some of the vital parameters that impact pulses export from India are:

  • The moisture content of Pulses
  • Machine cleaning
  • Polishing

According to the industrial experts, the Government of India must support the pulses exporter by providing technical information and proper warehouses.  To gain in the pulses export market, India should consider lifting the ban on exports.

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