Agri Commodities Pulses

Pulses: Global Exports, Demand, and Supply

pulses exported from India

Pulses are, essentially, dried legumes that have been prepared to retain their nutritional value and can be stored easily. They are grown all around the world, with Canada being the largest producer in the world with over half of the global pulses exports. India, Turkey, and Australia are other large producers in the industry. The global demand for Indian pulses has been rising steadily over the years, but their consumption is still a far cry from what it should be according to experts as pulses are an excellent source of protein and fiber, making them good for overall health.

India’s Pulses Production

India is already a large producer of pulses and imports are not expected to reduce significantly over the coming years. The country’s pulses production is expected to rise as well. Production in other major countries is also anticipated to grow by more than 2 percent from 2021-2022. As a result, India will continue to be among the world’s largest exporters of pulses over that period. India has recently put a temporary ban on exports of the staples such as sugar and wheat so these are not included in its export statistics for foodstuffs or agricultural goods but pulses can be exported if they fall within set parameters on minimum moisture content.

Pulses Exports From India

The total value of pulses exported from India last year stood at US$ 6.5 billion and comprised over 28% of total pulses exports from across Asia and Africa. India’s closest rival in terms of exports is Turkey which exported pulses to a value of US$ 3.1 billion; Russia was third with exports valued at US$ 2.4 billion. Iran was ranked fourth with US$ 1.9 billion worth of pulses exported globally (up 24% from 2014), followed by China which saw pulses valued at US$ 1.8 billion (down 7%). Malaysia’s exports ranked seventh place globally but showed impressive growth of 40%, compared to 33% growth worldwide, exporting pulses to a value of US$ 851 million last year.

Pulses Imports To India

India is also one of the largest importers of pulses in the world. India imported 5,52,000 MT pulses during 2016-17 which registered a growth of 12% over the previous year (5.03 lakh MT). Among the types of pulses India imports, most are chickpeas (88%), followed by lentils (11%) and peas(1%). State-wise details show that Maharashtra leads in importing pulses with 1.42 lakh MT during 2016-17 registering a growth of 8% over the previous year while imports from Rajasthan showed a decline at 3.97 lakh MT.

Other Major Exporters Of Pulses

India is currently exporting pulses to 115 countries. Its top four trading partners are Nepal (5 percent of total exports), Bangladesh (5 percent), Yemen (4 percent), and Angola (3 percent). Other countries on India’s list of major customers include Vietnam, Kenya, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Overall, some 84 percent of Indian pulses exports end up being shipped to developing nations. That’s typical for India, as most other agricultural goods it produces are usually exported mainly to developing nations. These goods include basmati rice, spices such as turmeric and pepper, fruits like mangoes, and flowers such as roses. Next time you’re at a restaurant in Bangkok or Boston and they serve your meal with a side of curry powder, you can thank India.

Major Importers Of Pulses

India (the largest importer of pulses globally) and Pakistan are some of India’s major trading partners in terms of pulses imports. In 2014-15, these two countries accounted for 18 percent and 15 percent respectively of India’s total pulses imports. Kenya (another major trading partner), Nigeria, and Bangladesh are other importers of pulses from India. Japan is another large importer of Indian pulses but a lower quantity import is recorded with most Indian pulses exports to Japan being on a grant or concessional basis.

Pulses Crop Prices In Different Countries

India is the world’s biggest producer of pulses with an annual output of over 20 million tonnes. On an average, India exports 2.5 million tonnes of pulses to foreign countries every year. There are around 150 varieties of pulses grown in India and out of these 90 varieties are consumed locally while the remaining 60 varieties are sent to other countries through exports. The major importers of Indian pulses are Germany (29 percent), Vietnam (12 percent), Iran (11 percent), and Thailand (10 percent). Germany is followed by Iran as another major exporter of pulses which include lentils, beans, peas, and other grains that grow within a pod such as chickpeas, cowpeas, and soybeans that help in food production for humans and animals.

Global Demand For Pulses

More demand for Indian pulses in diets around the world has caused pulses exports from India to grow over 10% annually. As per a report by CARE and Development Initiatives, pulses consumption is expected to continue rising alongside a projected 50% growth in pulses production by 2025. Pulses production and exports will continue to be a key component of India’s agriculture export basket moving forward. In recent years, India has emerged as one of the most important producers and exporters of pulses globally.


Looking at the above points, it is obvious that pulses production, export, and acreage of pulses crops will continue to increase in the future years. The only factor affecting pulses production negatively could be the productivity growth rate of pulses crops (which has been stagnant for more than two decades). At the current pace, pulses production will double by 2030 and almost triple by 2050.

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