Farmers disappointed over ‘meagre hike’ in MSP for paddy

A section of farmers’ representatives of Tiruchi and delta districts has expressed disappointment over the “meagre” increase in the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy announced by the Union government on Wednesday.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had decided to hike the MSP for paddy by ₹72 a quintal from last year’s price of ₹1,868 to ₹1,940.

Stating that the hike is not commensurate with rising cultivation costs, the representatives have demanded that the MSP be hiked to at least ₹2,500 a quintal.

Emphasising the need for implementing the M.S. Swaminathan Committee recommendation of providing for 50% profit over and above cost of cultivation for agricultural produce, Arupathy Kalyanam, general secretary, Federation of Farmers’ Associations of Delta Districts, said that if that formula were to be adopted, the MSP for paddy would work out to ₹2,590 per quintal.

“Alternatively, the government can consider sanctioning cultivation incentive to farmers as a direct benefit transfer if it felt that the hike in procurement price will lead to an increase in open market prices of commodities,” he suggested.

Mr. Kalyanam also wanted the kharif marketing season to be advanced to start from August 1 instead of October 1 in the changed circumstances as the harvest of early kharif crops, raised using groundwater, began in July.

Expressing disappointment over the hike, P. Ayyakannu, president, Desiya Thennidia Nadigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam, also pressed for implementation of M.S. Swaminathan Committee recommendation on price fixation.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to double the income of farmers, but the meagre hike in MSP for paddy is not a step in that direction. The procurement price is unremunerative,” he said and urged the Centre to take into account the rising fertilizer cost and labour wages.

The hike is too inadequate under the present circumstances, especially in view of rise in cost of inputs, fuel and the pandemic situation, said Dikshidar Balasubramanian, president, Tiruchi District Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association.

“Rental charges for farm machines such as tractors have been hiked. Labour costs have also gone up. The Centre should take these factors into account and hike the MSP to ₹2,500 a quintal,” Mr. Balasubramanian said.

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