Madhya Pradesh plans MSP for vegetables and fruits
The Madhya Pradesh government plans to fix Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for vegetables like tomatoes and potatoes and fruits to help farmers who fail to recover even their costs of cultivation, officials aware of the matter said.
“We held a round of meetings with farmers before preparing a draft on how to stop hoarding and middlemen interference in deciding the market prices of vegetables and fruits,” said a horticulture department official, who did not want to be named. He said they plan to initially provide MSP for 12 vegetables including cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots. The list of fruits is yet to finalised. “A team of horticulture and agriculture experts are calculating cultivation cost. MSP will be fixed by including at least a 50% profit margin.”
There are 76 fruit and vegetable mandis in Madhya Pradesh. The official said farmers can sell their vegetables and fruits at these mandis at the MSP.
The Madhya Pradesh government fixed Rs eight per kg MSP for onions after six farmers were killed in protests in Mandsaur in June 2017.
Bhagwan Meena, a farmer leader, said it is good that the government is going to fix MSP for vegetables but it needs to improve infrastructure too. “The farmers sell the vegetables at a lower than the production cost because they do not have any storage facilities... after few months, businessmen sell the same vegetables at 100-200% profit margin as they have cold storages.”
Madhya Pradesh has a cold storage capacity of nine lakh metric ton. Meena said the state needs a capacity of at least 18 lakh metric ton.
GS Kaushal, an agricultural expert, said he has his doubts about the implementation of MSP for fruits and vegetables. “Vegetables and fruits are perishable items. How will the government compel businessmen to purchase vegetables and fruits at MSP? If businessmen refuse to purchase it at MSP, will the government purchase it or farmers have to bear 100% loss?” He added if the government agrees to purchase the vegetables and fruits from farmers, where will it store them. “The government fixed the MSP for onions. [But] in absence of proper storage and transportation facility, the government had a bear loss of crore of rupees.”
Horticulture minister Bharat Singh Kushwaha said the MSP will also control the fluctuation in the costs of vegetables.
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