The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has increased the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for all Rabi crops for the finanicial year 2024-25. The increase for wheat, the major Rabi crop, is ₹150 per quintal and the new price will be ₹2,275.
Farmers’ organisations have criticised the “meagre” increase. The Centre procures wheat from about a dozen wheat-growing districts in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The two States are among those that will witness upcoming Assembly elections.
Welcoming the announcement, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the policies of the Centre have helped farmers to make agriculture a profitable vocation. He said the MSP is much higher than the input cost.
The highest increase in MSP compared with last year is for lentils (masur) at ₹425 per quintal (new price: ₹6,425 per quintal) followed by rapeseed and mustard at ₹200 per quintal (new MSP: ₹5,650 per quintal). For wheat and safflower, the increase is ₹150 per quintal (₹2,275 and ₹5,800 per quintal, respectively). For barley (new MSP: ₹1,850) and gram (new MSP: ₹5,440), the increase is ₹115 and ₹105 per quintal, respectively.
Farmers’ organisations said the MSP did not match the increase in input costs. “Fertilizers and diesel prices have increased,” said All India Kisan Saba leader from Rajasthan Amra Ram. “Production is decreasing due to no significant increase in MSP. The Centre should have implemented [recommendations of the] Swaminathan Committee report,” he added. Five districts in Rajasthan and about eight districts in Madya Pradesh contribute to the wheat procurement by Food Corporation of India.
Coordinator of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugraan) Pavel Kussa said the increase was not sufficient. “Where is the procurement? Without procurement MSP is meaningless. Such announcements do not have any meaning when the government goes away from procurement and leaves everyting to private traders,” Mr. Kussa said.
Separately, the Centre also announced the final estimated production of major crops during 2022-23. Rice production is estimated at 1,357.55 lakh tonnes, wheat at 1,105.54 lakh tonnes, nutri and coarse cereals at 573.19 lakh tonnes, maize at 380.85 lakh tonnes and pulses at 260.58 lakh tonnes.
Oilseeds production could touch 413.55 lakh tonnes, while sugarcane output could reach 4,905.33 lakh tonnes. Cotton is estimated at 336.60 lakh bales of 170 kg each and jute at 93.92 lakh bales of 180 kg each.