Government has rejected a top foodgrain pricing panel's recommendation for keeping unchanged the minimum rate to be paid this year to wheat farmers at Rs 1,285 per quintal, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said today.
The government has asked Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) to rework the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat for 2012-13 keeping in mind the rise of cost of inputs like fertiliser and diesel, he told Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.
The CACP had recommended that MSP for wheat in current year should be the same as last year's level of Rs 1,285 despite cost of production going up from Rs 927 per quintal in 2011-12 to Rs 1,128 in the current year.
The MSP for wheat in 2010-11 was Rs 1,120 per quintal when cost of production was Rs 826, he said.
"The CACP recommendation has not been accepted by us," he said adding the expert panel has been asked to "go in-depth" into input costs like fertiliser, oil and labour charges in submitting a revised proposal.
"In next 15 days, we will announce the final price (for current year)," he said.
Pawar said MSP for paddy for current year was fixed at Rs 1,250 per quintal considering a cost of production of Rs 1,152. In the previous year, MSP was Rs 1,080 as against a cost of production of Rs 888 per quintal. In 2010-11, farmers were paid Rs 1,000 per quintal when their cost of production of paddy was Rs 742.
"The cost of production of agricultural commodities depends upon their yields as well as prices of various inputs like labour, seeds, fertiliser, pesticides, irrigation charges and mechanisation," he said.
The rise in cost of production is addressed through the mechanism of MSP.
Pawar said MSPs are announced by government for major agricultural commodities to ensure remunerative prices to growers with a view to encouraging higher investment and production and to safeguard the interest of consumers by making available supplies at reasonable prices.
"Farmers' interest will be protected at all times," he said.
Pawar said foodgrain production in the country will be 250 million tons this year despite drought in some parts of North Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajastan and not enough rains in Punjab and Haryana.
Last year, the country had a record output of 257 million tons.
He said 80 lakh tons of rice was exported while 2.5 million tons of wheat was shipped out. Similarly, 2.5 million tons of sugar and 80 lakh bales of cotton were exported. "This shows production is improving," he added.
To a separate question, Pawar said 29,715 godowns under the Rural Godown Scheme have so far been sanctioned. Of these, 16,567 have been completed and rest are under construction.
The cost of construction of godowns under the scheme has been revised with effect from October 20, 2011 from Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,500 per ton for godowns up to the capacity of 1,000 tons and from Rs 1,875 to Rs 3,000 per ton for godowns exceeding the capacity of 1,000 tons.
There is no restriction on number of godowns that can be set up except that they should be located outside the municipal corporation limits, he said.