NAGPUR: Union government's Commission for Agriculture Cists and prices (CAC) has finally announced the revised minimum support price (MSP) for major kharif crops. However, farm leaders from Vidarbha are not so happy and have pointed out that price-hike for the region's main cash crops of cotton and soyabean was too little and very late.
As per the CACP announcements MSP for cotton has been raised by Rs100 per quintal. The new rates will be between Rs3,700 and Rs4,000 depending on the fibre quality. For soyabean the increase is by Rs360 taking it to Rs2,560 a quintal for the crop year 2013-14. The new MSP for tur is Rs4,300 up by Rs450 per quintal from that of last year but for paddy the increase is just Rs60 from last year's Rs1,250 a quintal.
"Cotton and soya are the two main cash crops and dryland farmers' main sources of income. But, the measly rise given by the government is unfair and unjust. It is much below the open market prices that are prevailing today and these low MSPs would result in prices sliding in open market too," warned Kishore Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti.
"The MSP should have been announced before the advent of monsoon to enable farmers to decide which crop to take up. But, CACP took its own time in making the announcement and that to towards June-end when most of the farmers of the suicide-prone Vidarbha region have finished sowing operations thanks to timely rains this time," said Tiwari. He also said that tur MSP hike is misleading as the earlier bonus payment of Rs500 a quintal would now be discontinued.
Farmers' leader and Shetkari Sanghatana founder-member Vijay Jawandhiya was also unhappy with the meagre hike. "There is a huge gap between the MSP and the open market rates prevailing today. In fact, the state government had recommended much higher prices but the CACP declined their plea saying that the international prices too were low and hence it did notwarrant higher rates for the crops here," said Jawandhiya. He said the state had recommended a price of Rs6,068 for cotton, Rs3,957 for soya and Rs4,546 for tur.
"Had the rupee value not slipped against dollar, the open market rates would have come down drastically," said Jawandhiya. "The government should realize that dryland farmers have to battle with vagaries of nature as well as of markets. Prices of all inputs, including labour have gone up by 25%, cost of living has gone up. This is the reason why the Union government recently granted a 8% hike in dearness allowance to lakhs of its employees. But, when it comes to farmers, the government shows its usual insensitivity," said Jawandhiya.