Kharif 2019: Mandi price of nine crops up to 37% below MSPs

Published: October 26, 2019 1:46 AM

In other states there is very little progress in procurement as crops have high moisture content with rains lashing in many parts even in end of September.

After rather subdued increases over the previous four years, the Centre, in the run-up to the general elections, had raised the MSPs of kharif 2018 crops in the steep range of 4-52% to fulfil a promise of 50% profit for farmers over the costs of production (A2+FL).

By Prabhudatta Mishra

Mandi prices of 11 out of the14 monsoon-sown crops, for which the government fixes the minimum support prices (MSPs), are currently ruling below their benchmark rates in most parts of the country, threatening to aggravate the rural demand slump. The prices are about 8-37% lower than MSPs in the case of nine crops, namely tur, moong, urad, soyabean, sunflower, niger, jowar, bajra and ragi.

Only paddy, maize and sesamum are ruling above their MSPs.Apart from demand-supply dynamics, higher moisture content in the crops due to unduly prolonged monsoon rains, too, have impacted the market prices. The kharif harvesting season began about three weeks ago. The MSPs for kharif 2019 crops were 1-9% higher than in the year-ago season.

After rather subdued increases over the previous four years, the Centre, in the run-up to the general elections, had raised the MSPs of kharif 2018 crops in the steep range of 4-52% to fulfil a promise of 50% profit for farmers over the costs of production (A2+FL).

That year it also launched PM-AASHA, a price support scheme, but it did not yield much results in terms of ensuring remunerative prices for farmers. The initial trend in mandi prices indicate a repeat of the same situation this year, as a robust procurement mechanism for pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals is yet to be up and running in most states. Unless the procurement mechanism or the price deficiency support scheme improves, the low market prices could hit farmers’ earnings.

The Centre has so far sanctioned procurement of about 2 lakh tonne (worth Rs 1,130 crore at MSP values) of moong, urad and soyabean. Agri cooperative Nafed has purchased 5,268 tonne, until October 19. Nearly 4,900 tonne of moong has been procured only from Telangana since September 14 due to early arrival of the crop in the state, officials said.

In other states there is very little progress in procurement as crops have high moisture content with rains lashing in many parts even in end of September.
“Unless the crop is dry, farmers will not get the MSP as the quality will not be of FAQ standards,” a government official said.

Among the crops which averaged below their MSPs during the period under review, moong prices were down 19%, tur 13%, urad 11%, ragi 27%, bajra 14%, jowar 9%, sunflower 37%, niger 18% and soyabean 8%. Though all-India weighted average cotton (medium staple) prices were down by 4%, the mandi prices were near its MSP of Rs 5,086 per quintal in Rajasthan, which has seen 43% of the total arrivals of 3.3 lakh tonne all across the country. Prices were 10% down in Gujarat, the top producer, due to high level of moisture, officials said.

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