Faced with soaring prices of dal, the Centre has raised the support price of lentil (masur) and gram (chana) to encourage farmers to grow more pulses in the ongoing rabi season.
The minimum support price (MSP) for these two pulses were raised by Rs 250 per quintal, roughly 8%, and an additional bonus of Rs 75 per quintal will be given to farmers, Union minister Piyush Goyal told reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday.
“This is expected to give a strong price signal to farmers to increase acreage and invest for increase in productivity of pulses,” Goyal said.
The effective support price of gram would be Rs 3,500 per quintal and masur Rs 3,400 per quintal for the 2015-16 rabi season, which is still well below the open market price, PTI reported.
Sowing of rabi crops begins in October -- which would mean the announcement comes a bit late -- and harvesting starts from April onwards.
Overall, the MSP of six rabi crops -- wheat, barley, gram, masur, rapeseed-mustard seed and safflower seed -- were increased, as recommended by the government’s advisory body Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP).
The MSP of wheat, the main rabi crop, has been increased by Rs 75 to Rs 1,525 a quintal for the 2015-16 rabi season, while that of oilseeds has been increased by Rs 250 a quintal.
MSP is the price at which the government would buy wheat, pulses and oilseeds from farmers. In case of other rabi crops, the government intervenes when the market price falls below the MSP.
The government expects the jump in MSP to encourage cultivation of pulses and reduce dependence on imports. At present, the domestic shortfall in pulses output has led to a rise in retail prices of lentils to around Rs 190 a kg, forcing the government to take several measures to curb price rise.
(With inputs from PTI)