Despite the massive debt relief waiver for farmers, this is one UPA decision that is not likely to please them: The government has rejected a recommendation of the National Commission on Farmers (NCF) to directly link the Minimum Support Price (MSP) it pays for agricultural produce with the cost farmers pay for growing it.
“The Commission has recommended that the MSP should be at least 50 per cent more than the weighted average cost of production.”
“This suggestion has not been accepted by the government since MSP is recommended by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices,” said Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in response to a question from MP Chandra Bhushan Singh.
“There cannot be any mechanical linkage between the cost of production and the MSP since cost per quintal varies from year to year depending on the yield level,” Pawar said.
The government has already announced the MSP for the 2007-08 Kharif and Rabi seasons and these are not based on the recommendations of the NCF. The recommendation of the NCF, if accepted, would have meant assured profits for farmers.
Various farmers’ organisations and outfits have been demanding to link the MSP with cost of farming. The government gives the MSP for 25 agricultural commodities, including wheat and rice, to protect farmers from adverse market fluctuations and ensure that they grow enough food to meet the country’s requirements.
Farmers have been complaining for years now that one of the main causes of agrarian distress and indebtedness is the rise in input costs.