The government on Wednesday raised the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy marginally by Rs 72 per quintal to Rs 1,940 per quintal for the 2021-22 crop year, while the rates of pulses, oilseeds and cereals were hiked substantially.
Among the commercial crops, the MSP of cotton was increased by Rs 211 per quintal to Rs 5,726 for medium staple variety, and by Rs 200 per quintal to Rs 6,025 for long-staple variety of cotton for the 2021-22 crop year (July-June).
The decision taken by the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will help farmers take a call on which kharif (summer) crop to grow as sowing picks with the spread of the Southwest monsoon in the coming weeks.
Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the Cabinet has approved the MSP of 14 kharif crops for the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) and farmers would get 50-85 per cent returns over their cost of production.
Dispelling apprehensions about the MSP, the minister said there were doubts about the MSP a few months back when the new farm laws were passed in Parliament.
At that time, both the Prime Minister and myself had assured that the MSP policy is there and will continue in future as well.
The government is regularly fixing the MSP for both rabi and kharif crops.
Procurement of wheat and rice is happening through state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI), while pulses and oilseeds through other agencies, he added.
"Therefore, there is no need to have apprehension. MSP (on farm crops) is there, MSP procurement is happening, it (MSP) is being hiked and will continue in future as well," the minister asserted while announcing the MSP of kharif crops for the 2021-22 crop year.
For the 2021-22 crop year, Tomar said the government raised the MSP of paddy (common variety) by Rs 72 to Rs 1,940 per quintal from Rs 1,868 per quintal in the year-ago period.
The MSP of Grade A variety of paddy has also been increased by Rs 72 to Rs 1,960 per quintal this year from Rs 1,888 per quintal last year.
Paddy is the main kharif crop, the sowing of which has begun with the onset of the Southwest monsoon.
The Met Department has projected a normal monsoon for the June-September period.
Among coarse cereals, the government increased the MSP of jowar (hybrid) by Rs 118 to Rs 2,738 per quintal from Rs 2,620 per quintal last year.
A similar increase has been made in support price of jowar (maldani) to Rs 2,758 per quintal for the 2021-22 crop year.
The government increased the support price of bajra by Rs 100 to Rs 2,250 per quintal from Rs 2,150 per quintal last year, while ragi support price has been increased by Rs 82 to Rs 3,377 per quintal from Rs 3,295 per quintal last year.
The support price of maize has been increased marginally by Rs 20 to Rs 1,870 per quintal for the 2021-22 crop year from Rs 1,850 per quintal last year.
Separately in a statement, the government said concerted efforts were made over the last few years to realign the MSPs in favour of oilseeds, pulses and coarse cereals to encourage farmers to shift to the larger area under these crops and adopt best technologies and farm practices, to correct the demand-supply imbalance.
"The added focus on nutri-rich cereals is to incentivise its production in the areas, where rice-wheat cannot be grown without long term adverse implications for groundwater table," the statement added.
To boost pulses and oilseeds production and reduce the country's dependence on imports, the government increased the support price of tur by Rs 300 to Rs 6,300 per quintal for the 2021-22 crop year from Rs 6,000 per quintal last year.
A similar increase has been made in the case of urad at Rs 6,300 per quintal for the 2021-22 crop year.
The moong support price has been increased by Rs 79 to Rs 7,275 per quintal for the 2021-22 crop year as against Rs 7,196 per quintal last year.
Among kharif-grown oilseeds, the government increased the support price maximum in the case of sesamum by Rs 452 to Rs 7,307 per quintal for the 2021-22 crop year, against Rs 6,855 per quintal last year.
The government increased the support price of groundnut by Rs 275 to Rs 5,550 per quintal for the 2021-22 crop year, compared to Rs 5,275 per quintal last year, while sunflower seed MSP has been increased by Rs 130 to Rs 6,015 per quintal from Rs 5,885 per quintal.
However, the support price of soybean (yellow) has been raised marginally by Rs 70 to Rs 3,950 per quintal for the 2021-22 crop year, from Rs 3,880 per quintal last year.
The support price of nigerseed has been increased by Rs 235 to Rs 6,930 per quintal from Rs 6,695 per quintal.
To attain self-sufficiency in the production of pulses, the government said a special Kharif strategy has been prepared for implementation in the ensuing Kharif 2021 season.
A detailed plan for both area expansion and productivity enhancement for tur, moong and urad has been formulated. Under the strategy, all the available high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of seeds will be distributed free of cost to increase the area through the intercropping and sole crop.
Similarly, for oilseeds, the government has approved an ambitious plan for the free distribution of high-yielding varieties of seeds to the farmers for the Kharif season 2021 in the form of mini-kits.
The special Kharif programme will bring an additional 6.37 lakh hectare area under oilseeds and is likely to produce 120.26 lakh quintals of oilseeds and edible oil amounting to 24.36 lakh quintals, the government said.
On fertilisers, the minister said the government has retail prices of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) recently rose in line with global markets, but the government increased the subsidy portion to ensure farmers continue to get the key soil nutrient at Rs 1,200 per bag during the Kharif season.