Updated March 8th, 2024 at 20:52 IST

Govt mulling to give MSP guarantee for next 5 years to non-wheat, paddy crops

Decision on MSP taken to extend the guarantee of MSP purchase to non-water-guzzling crops.

Reported by: Business Desk
Representative image | Image:Unsplash
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MSP on non-water guzzling crops:  With an aim to encourage crop diversification, the central government is mulling to undertake guaranteed procurement of pulses, including tur, urad and masoor, and maize at Minimum Support Price (MSP) from farmers if they opt for diversification from paddy crop. The Centre is also mulling procuring cotton at minimum support price (MSP) without any condition of diversification, as per official sources. 

Government agencies like NAFED and NCCF may enter into contracts with farmers for five years, official sources said. Sources also hinted that the government could consider procurement of pulses, maize and cotton at MSP without any quantative restrictions, if the situation is such that the the farmers opts to move away from the water-guzzling paddy crop. Notably, states such as Punjab have witnessed a major fall in their water table due to crops such as wheat and maize that require higher amounts of water for cultivation

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A portal is being created by the Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry where farmers can register by providing details like their Aadhaar Card number. In the portal, farmers will have to self-certify and mention diversification into these pulses and maize crops.

A Committee consisting of three Union ministers had last month proposed buying of these five crops by government agencies at MSP for five years after entering into an agreement with farmers, as part of the government's efforts to end farmers' protests at the Punjab-Haryana border. However, farmer groups had rejected the government's proposal and are continuing with their protest.

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Sources said the government has decided to implement this proposal given to farmer groups as it seeks to promote diversity.

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal, Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda and Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai held four rounds of talks with farmer leaders over their demands, including a legal MSP guarantee. A large number of farmers are camping at the Punjab-Haryana border to press for their demand.

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"Cooperative societies like the NCCF (National Cooperative Consumers Federation) and NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) will enter into a contract with those farmers who grow 'tur dal', 'urad dal', 'masoor dal’ or maize for buying their crop at MSP for next five years.

"There will be no limit on the quantity (purchased) and a portal will be developed for this," Goyal had said.

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The source stressed the need for diversification from paddy crops, which requires a lot of water, in states like Punjab and Haryana, and asserted that the Centre will procure these crops from farmers at MSP from across the country.

The move would also help boost domestic production of pulses and reduce import dependence. The government also wants to enhance maize production for its ethanol blending programme. It wants to discourage the use of rice for the production of ethanol. The Centre has achieved 12 per cent blending of ethanol with petrol and has set a target of 20 per cent by 2025.

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Globally, the source said, maize is used widely for ethanol production. The state-owned Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) already procures cotton whenever the domestic prices fall below the MSP. 

(With PTI inputs) 

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Published March 8th, 2024 at 20:49 IST