Chana, one of the major pulses (commonly called daals) cultivated and consumed in India, is also known as Bengal gram or gram or chickpea. Chana is a major and cheap source of protein compared to animal protein. Chana is scientifically known as Ciceraritinum and is reportedly originated from western Asia (Turkey).
In India, main types of chickpea are cultivated viz., Desi and Kabuli in the ratio of 3:1 and chana accounts for about 45% of total pulses produced in the country. Similar to the case of other pulses, India is the major producing country for chana, contributing for over 75% of total production in the world.
Chana is cultivated for its seeds. They are rich source of protein and form an important part of vegetarian diet. Chana seeds contain about 17-20% of protein.
Climate and Cultivation
Gram is an important rabi crop mainly sown in September-November and harvested in February. Crop duration is 90-120 days, depending on the variety. Desi varieties are short duration while kabuli varieties take relatively longer period to mature. Similarly, cooler areas like northern India take longer period, compared to relatively warm weather in southern parts of India. It is best suited to areas having low to moderate rainfall and a mild cold weather. Excessive rains soon after sowing or at flowering stage are harmful for the crop. Severe cold is injurious, and is very harmful. It is best suited to areas having moderate rainfall of 60-90 cm per annum. It has an indeterminate growth habit, which means that the growth cycle extends as long as moisture is available.
Major export destinations: Pakistan, UAE, Turkey, Algeria and Sri Lanka.
Major export sources: Australia and Canada.
Factors Influencing Chana Prices
- Crop: Extent of area sown under the crop, condition of the crop and thereby the expectation. Rainfall and weather conditions that could affect the crop output.
- Demand expectation: Any changes in demand both domestic as well as international markets.
- Imports: Demand supply situation in major import sources.
- Prices of related commodities or substitutes. To some extent yellow peas for chana but they are not perfect substitutes.
- Government intervention policies: Any change in government policy relating to the crops such as
o Changes in minimum support prices
o Direct procurement by the government agencies and storage in warehouses
o Restriction on stock holding limits of the commodity
o Change in tariffs and
- Ban or changes in external trade policies with respect to the commodity.