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India allows 650,000 T of pulse imports this fiscal year

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has issued a combined 650,000 tonne import quota for pulses for the fiscal year to March 2020, a government order said, allowing overseas purchases of protein-rich pulse varieties that are a staple of Indian cuisine.

Two straight years of drought pushed up pulse prices in 2015 and forced New Delhi to allow duty-free imports. But record imports of 6.6 million tonnes in the 2016/17 fiscal year led to a crash in local prices.

As part of its efforts to curb imports, the government started fixing import quotas in 2018.

India is the world's biggest producer and consumer of pulses, and mainly consumes varieties such as yellow peas, green gram and chickpeas.

Farmers in Russia, Canada, Australia and Myanmar mainly rely on Indian demand.

(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj and Neha Dasgupta; editing by David Evans)