Stung by farmers’ unrest in the western parts of the state after produce realisations hit a nadir, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has promised to come to their aid. Purchase of farm produce below the minimum support price (MSP) announced by the Centre would be a criminal offence in the state, he said, announcing several other measures for farmers, including a `1,000-crore price stabilisation fund for the state to purchase farm produce at MSP and “kisan bazaar” (farmers’ markets) in the Malwa region under the municipal bodies. About 6.72 million tonnes of wheat was purchased by state procurement agencies at MSP in Madhya Pradesh in the 2017-18 rabi marketing season, while pan-India purchases were over 30 million tonnes. However, MSPs have not been available to farmers for pulses as procurement operations have traditionally been almost non-existent for these items. As for fruits and vegetables — onion prices have crashed at the wholesale and retail levels partly because demonetisation has hit liquidity in the trade — however, there are no MSPs.
“Any purchase of farm produce below the MSP declared by the Centre would be considered a criminal act in Madhya Pradesh,” Chouhan told a gathering at BHEL’s Dussehra Maidan on Sunday. He had observed a fast showing allegiance to the agitating farmers’ cause.
“We will also adopt system of Amul dairy cooperatives to purchase milk in the state,” he said.