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Description | Overview | History | Cultivation pattern | Tur (Pigeon pea) producing countries | Indian tur market | Major trading centers

Pigeon pea or tur plant is an annual crop, cultivated for its sweet tasting legumes, which is consumed as a popular staple diet in many countries. It belongs to the family of ‘Fabaceae’ and is also known as Cajanus Cajan. This plant is a single, woody stemmed plant reaches about 4 meters in height and has a sophisticated root system that it makes it a drought resistant type. Pigeon pea plant has multi colored flowers with most of them being yellow colored. Mostly cultivated as secondary or mixed crop, pigeon pea is cultivated in around 25 countries of the world.

The peas or legume of this plant is termed with various names in different cultures such as red gram, Congo pea, Gungo pea, no eye pea etc and are widely consumed throughout the world.


The legumes of the pigeon pea plant are not actually peas but contribute to one of the most famous pulse in the world. In both new and old worlds, this pulse bears a high popularity level and it is proven by the fact that it is cultivated in more than 25 countries of the world. As compared to the other pulses produced in the world, pigeon pea or tur holds the sixth rank in the context of production. The world production of this crop figures around 3.25 million tons annually. Dominant producers of this crop are the countries in the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Central America as the climate conditions suit the development of the crop. The leading producer is India producing about 85 % of the world’s total produce. Pigeon pea is consumed throughout the world as a staple food. It is also consumed as a green vegetable and as a fodder crop.

Though India is the largest producer of the crop but it is not into the exports of tur at all, as the domestic consumption demand in the country is quite high and Myanmar, the neighboring country to India leads the tur exporting countries’ list. The major importing countries that import tur or pigeon pea are

  • Myanmar

  • Republic of Tanzania

  • Kenya

  • Malawi

  • Uganda

  • Mozambique

The pigeon pea importing list is topped by the India and the European Union.


Pigeon pea originated in Asian continent particularly it is said that to be a native to India in as long as 3000 years ago. From India, it was taken to the eastern African region approximately a thousand years ago. Then it was called ‘Gandoles’ and was cultivated in Egypt according to the remnants found in the tombs of Egypt.

When Columbus discovered the new world or America, the African or the black people were taken there as slaves. Pigeon peas traveled to the new world with the slaves of America. This was the time when this crop started gaining popularity and cultivation of pigeon pea, on a wider level, got started. Tur has maintained its reputation since then and even now it is being widely demanded.

Cultivation pattern

Pigoen pea is mostly cultivated as a secondary or mixed crop throughout the world. It is mainly a tropical crop which is cultivated with the cereal grains such as maize, millet and sorghum etc. This crop can be long lasting crop as it can last for a period of 3-5 years but it is generally grown as an annual crop. It is basically a drought resistant crop due to its long tap roots and that is why it is cultivated in semi arid areas. Pigeon pea is also helpful in the process of nitrogen fixation of the soil.

In India, the sowing season for this crop is in the summers or the khariff season. June and July are considered to be the best time to plant this crop. The seeds of pigeon pea starts germinating in two weeks time. The plant starts flowering with the upcoming of October and it is harvested in December and January. In Africa, the harvesting period of pigeon pea crop is around June and July.

During harvesting, the crop is picked by hand, dried in the sun and then it is taken for threshing process. After threshing has been done, the remaining grainis cleaned through the winnowing process. The crop starts arriving in the Indian market from October.

Tur (Pigeon pea) producing countries

The following countries stood out as the topmost pigeon pea producing countries in the world in 2004-05

  • India (2430000 MT)

  • Myanmar (500000 MT)

  • Malawi (79000 MT)

  • Uganda (78000 MT)

  • Kenya (55000 MT)

  • United republic of Tanzania (47000 MT)

  • Nepal (26000 MT)

  • Dominican Republic (13000 MT)

  • Trinidad & Tobago (2900 MT)

  • Haiti (2600 MT)

  • Panama (2200 MT)

  • Bangladesh (2000 MT)

  • Venezuela (2000 MT)

  • Burundi (1800 MT)

  • Jamaica (1300 MT)

  • Grenada (500 MT)

  • Comoros (300 MT)

  • Bahamas (125 MT)

The world production of pigeon pea sums up to 3.25 million tons. India is the largest producer contributing to around 85% of the world total production followed by Myanmar and Malawi. It is grown on 4.3 million hectares land in the world, India again leading in this context with 85% of the area covered. Myanmar and Nepal stands on 2nd and 3rd position in the list of the countries with the highest area covered in the production of tur. In Africa, it is cultivated on 0.42 million hectares of land and china contributes to 60000 hectares of land. The area covered in Asia has reached up to 3.81 million hectares as compared to the figure of 2.44 million hectares in 1972. This has led to a 61 % increase in Asia’s production. Also there has been an increase in the production level and the area covered in the production of pigeon pea in Africa. This continent has an astonishing 96% increase in its production and 66% rise in terms of area. The global production of tur has been increasing and is risen up by 43% since 1970. As already mentioned, pigeon pea helps in nitrogen fixation process and can provide 40Kg nitrogen per hectare.

Production of tur (pigeon pea) in India

India being the largest producer of tur in the world contributes to around 85% of the world’s total production that sums up to 2430000 metric tons. The main areas in which tur is cultivated in India are


  • Maharashtra (700000 tons)

  • Uttar Pradesh (500000 tons)

  • Karnataka (300000 tons)

  • Madhya Pradesh (300000 tons)

  • Gujarat (100000 tons)

  • Rajasthan

  • Haryana

  • Punjab

  • Tamil Nadu

  • Orissa

  • Bihar

India accounts to a production of 12-15 million tons of pulses and pigeon pea constitutes to around 20% of the share in it. India is also the leading country in the list of maximum area covered contributing to around 3.73 million hectares. This crop yields between 600 to 1200 kg per hectare .

Indian tur market

Indian economy has been dependent on pulses for a long time. India is the largest producer, consumer as well as largest of importer of pulses. Tur or the pigeon pea, in the Indian context, is the second most important crop after peas. Tur too, is being produced the maximum in the world, by the country. The production stands at around 2.5 million tons, which is the 4/5th share in the world and 1/5th share in the total pulses produced in the country. Maharashtra produces the maximum level of pigeon pea in India accounting to 700000 tons.

The domestic consumption of tur in India is estimated at around 3.4 million tons. Clearly, the production in the country is not sufficient to satisfy the domestic demand and hence it has to rely on imports of the crop. India imports its unfulfilled demand from Myanmar and Tanzania. The imports of the country sums up to 4 to 5 lakh tons annually. Even though India cannot fulfill its domestic demand, it seldom exports pigeon peas in small quantities to the following countries

  • United Arab Emirates

  • United States of America

  • Singapore

  • Saudi Arabia

India has a long chain for the highly fragmented market for tur. The prices of pigeon pea in India are based on the Minimum Support Price set by the government. The tur imports are allowed in the country without any import restrictions.

Market Influencing Factors

  • Weather conditions in the country

  • Hoarding and Black-marketing

  • Crop situation in the exporting countries especially Myanmar

  • Prices of the other major competitive pulses

Major trading centers of Tur (Pigeon pea)


The major areas in India where tur is traded are

  • Indore (Madhya Pradesh)

  • Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh)

  • Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh)

  • Jalgaon (Maharashtra)

  • Latur (Maharashtra)

  • Mumbai (Maharashtra)

  • Akola (Maharashtra)

  • Barchi (Maharashtra)

  • Nagpur (Maharashtra)

  • Delhi

  • Chennai

  • Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh)

  • Hapur (Uttar Pradesh)

  • Kashganj (Uttar Pradesh)

  • Hatras (Uttar Pradesh)

  • Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh)

  • Vijaywada (Uttar Pradesh)

  • Gulbarga (Karnataka)

  • Sirsa (Haryana)

  • Jalandhar (Punjab)

  • Ludhiana (Punjab)

  • Sangrur (Punjab)

  • Surat (Guajrat)

  • Dhansura (Guajrat)

  • Madosa (Guajrat)

  • Talod (Guajrat)

  • Rajkot (Guajrat)

Tur is also traded at the various commodity exchanges in India namely National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange ltd, Multi Commodity Exchange of India ltd and National Multi Commodity Exchange of India ltd.

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