The Maharashtra government is planning to supply seeds, fertilisers and pesticides free of cost to small and marginal farmers to keep the production costs minimal and to reduce their losses. Maharashtra Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil gave this information while talking to PTI today. “The idea is to keep the production cost or input cost minimal so that farmers will not feel the heat when the market rates are down,” he said.
Expressing concern over a large number of farmers currently under debt, the minister said the state government would also include farm labourers into the fold of National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme in the next couple of months. “This will bring down almost all costs of farmers required for food grains and vegetable cultivation. The state has observed that the sudden rise in supply leads to commodity prices crashing and farmers incurring losses,” Patil said. “If we keep the input cost at almost zero, despite the price crash, the farmers will not suffer heavily. Their losses will be limited,” he said.
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These two decisions, if put together will provide benefits to farmers, Patil said adding that the government is also coming with a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for food grains, which will ensure that farmers will get certain minimum amount for their produce.”During the demand period, farmers can sell their produce as per the market rates, which is generally higher than the MSP. In such a situation, they will not only earn more, but can even book profit and repay loan,” he said.
During the “lean period”, the MSP will come as a relief and farmers will earn certain amount, he said, adding that their losses will either be minimal or they will earn something to repay the loan amount. Patil said although only small and marginal farmers are included in the plan, the number of such farmers account for 70 per cent of the total 1.30 crore farmers in the state.