Research Analyst
May 7 - 20, 2012

Pulses are the most important source of protein. They are cultivated on five per cent of the total cropped area in Pakistan. The total area under major pulse crops was 1,298,000 hectares in FY10.

The Punjab region accounts for about 84 per cent of Pakistan's total pulse production, the Sindh region eight per cent, Balochistan five per cent, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) three per cent.

Because of the population growth, demand for pulses is increasing day by day. There is a need to develop varieties with higher yield potential that respond to improved management practices so as to meet the increasing demand of pulses. Pulses are grown both in the Kharif and Rabi seasons under non-irrigated conditions and depend largely on monsoon and winter rains for growth.

No significant breakthrough in domestic production is anticipated in the near term due to the importance of competing crops such as wheat, rice, and cotton.

During 2010 and 2011, Pakistan experienced historic floods that devastated huge crop areas and caused production losses to thousands of hectors. As a result, pulse imports increased 61 per cent. During the July-November, 2010/11, pulse imports reached 269,000 tons valued at $182 million as compared to 167,000 tons valued at $91 million in the same period of the previous year.


Pakistan's FY10 (July/June) pulse production totaled 765,000 tons, about 23 per cent lower than the previous year. Major pulses grown in Pakistan include desi chickpeas (gram), lentils (masur), mung beans, black matpe (mash beans), and dry peas whole (matter). Other pulses include kabuli chickpeas, and kidney beans etc.


Pakistan's per capita consumption of pulses has been increasing and overall domestic pulse consumption has grown by more than one million ton per annum. During FY10, desi chickpeas accounted for 51 per cent of total pulse consumption, followed by dry/yellow peas (13 per cent), chickpeas/ garbanzos (12 per cent), mung beans (10 per cent), lentils (7 per cent), kidney beans (4 per cent), and other pulses (3 per cent).

Consumption of pulses is recorded high during the summer, Ramazan, Eid, and other local festive seasons. Various pulse varieties are consumed according to the regional preferences.


Imports account for about 37 per cent of Pakistan's total consumption of pulses. In FY10, imports of pulses totaled 445,000 tons, valued at $262 million compared to 280,000 tons in FY09, valued at $236 million.

U.S. pulse exports to Pakistan are typically shipped in containers. Imports from the United States in FY10 were valued at a record $27 million, making Pakistan an increasingly important market for U.S. pulses.

Canada is the major supplier of pulses (mostly yellow peas, green peas, and chickpeas) to Pakistan. India and Myanmar are traditional suppliers of pulses to Pakistan due to their geographic proximity and ability to grow similar types of pulses such as black gram, red gram, green gram and kidney beans.


YEAR 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Total Imports 174 245 202 236 262
Imports from U.S. 1.3 8 14 16 27
U.S. Share (in %) 0.7 3 7 7 10


About 85 per cent of pulses are sold through commercial marketing channels while the balance is kept by farmers for food and planting purposes.

The existence of several layers of intermediaries in the marketing chain results in high margins with a wide spread between producer and consumer prices. Commission agents/brokers typically take 1 to 1.5 per cent, while the retail markup is much higher (40 to 50 per cent over wholesale prices), which covers the costs of transportation from the wholesalers, storage at warehouses, cleaning, packaging, etc.


2004-05 6.5
2005-06 6.3
2006-07 4.1
2007-08 1.0
2008-09 4.0
2009-10 0.6
2010-11(P) 1.2

Retail markups in government-owned stores have the lowest markup and private supermarkets have the highest. Relatively high volumes of pulses are traded in mandis, especially in wholesale markets in or near all major cities.

Wholesalers typically sell to retailers a minimum of one bag (50 kg or 100 kg). Retailers may also add value by cleaning or sorting the product to remove foreign material (e.g., stones) and inferior quality pulses.

Most pulses (split or whole) are sold loosely to customers while sales in consumer packs (0.5 and 1 kg. bags) are limited mostly to urban markets.

Some supermarket chains sell pulses in two and three kg packs with small discounts on larger sizes.

The main players in the pulse market are state owned utility stores, traditional food markets, and international super market chains (i.e., Metro, Makro, and Carrefour). Though the market share of supermarkets is rapidly increasing, the traditional markets (i.e., mom and pop stores, independent grocers, food stands, etc.) still hold 85 per cent of the pulse market.


The government of Pakistan should extend every possible help to the farmers for improving agriculture sector. The use of modern technology in agriculture sector is significant and the government should also provide seeds to the farmers for greater production. The country faced losses of up to $10 billion during flash floods, which affected the whole agriculture sector.