The centre has approved an increase in minimum support price (MSP) in the range of 5% to 8% for various kharif or summer grown crops, including paddy, pulses, oilseeds and cotton, for the 2017-18 crop season (July-June). The government has approved Rs80 per quintal hike in paddy MSP, while support price of pulses has been raised by up to Rs400 per quintal to encourage farmers increase area sown under kharif crops this season. It has approved paddy MSP at Rs1,550 for common grade variety and Rs1,590 for ‘A’ grade variety. Tur or arhar MSP has been raised to Rs5,450 from Rs5,050 a quintal, while support price of moong dal has been increased to Rs5,575 (including bonus) from Rs5,225 per quintal.Urad MSP is now Rs5,400 per quintal against Rs5,000 in the previous year. The cotton MSP has been raised by Rs160 per quintal to Rs4,020 per quintal for medium staple cotton and Rs4,320 per quintal for long staple cotton. The MSP of soyabean, a major crop in Madhya Pradesh, has been raised by Rs275 per quintal to Rs3,050 per quintal. While the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in collaboration with state agencies purchase rice and wheat from the farmers by paying MSP, for other crops the centre intervenes when market prices fall below MSP.
In 2016-17, the agencies such as Nafed, FCI and SFAC had purchased around 1.8 million tonne of pulses from farmers for creating a buffer stock. Earlier this month, the union cabinet had approved MSP of of 14 kharif (summer-sown) crops.However, the decision was not announced amid farmers protest in many states including Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, seeking waiver of crop loans. The agriculture ministry has now communicated to states about the hike in kharif MSP for the 2017-18 crop year (July-June). With the early onset of monsoon, the sowing operations have commenced across the country. The announcement of MSP is expected to boost kharif sowing. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) recently had said that rainfall during south-west monsoon season (June-September) is likely to be in ‘normal’ range. IMD in its second long range forecast stated that quantitatively monsoon season rainfall for the country as whole is likely to be 98% of the benchmark – Long Period Average (LPA), with a model error of ± 4%.
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Because of normal rainfall last year, the country’s foodgrains production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) is estimated to reach an all-time record of 273.38 million tonne (MT), which is 8.7% more than the previous year. Due to two consecutive years of deficient monsoons (2014 & 2015), the foodgrains production went down to 252 MT in 2014-15 and 2015-16 crop years from 265 MT reported in 2013-14.