Union budget: Minimum support price won’t help Maharashtra’s farmers, say experts
Mumbai experts said they were skeptical that the announcement would reduce the distress of farmers in the suicide-prone districts of Vidarbha and MarathwadaUpdated: Feb 01, 2018 23:05 IST
While welcoming the hike in the minimum support price (MSP) to 1.5 times that of the production cost of the agricultural produce, farm experts and state government officials said they were worried about the parameters set to fix the price.
They said they were skeptical that the announcement would bring about a real change and reduce the distress of farmers in the suicide-prone districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada.
According to officials from the state agriculture department, the Centre calculated the MSP based on the average production costs in other states.
They failed to take into account that this cost is higher in Maharashtra, owing to the low rate of irrigation, climatic conditions and low productivity. This means the increased MSP will still not help farmers earn a profit, they said.
“The MSP fixed for 16 kinds of produce this year is still half of what the state government recommended. We recommended the MSP for Tur at Rs6,008, Moong at Rs9,257 and Urad at Rs8,439 a quintal. However, the MSP for Tur has been fixed at Rs5,450, Moong at Rs5,575 and Urad at Rs5,400 a quintal. This will make it difficult for some farmers to recover the production cost,” said an official, who did not wish to be identified.
Agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar said the new price would strengthen the market for agricultural produce.
He said the huge allocation for micro irrigation, food processing, organic farming and provision for 42 mega food parks will boost the agricultural sector.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, however, expressed satisfaction over the amount allocated for irrigation projects in the state.