Benchmark price for minor millets soon to help states get millets for PDS
Millets are being grown in more places, so the Centre may soon set a benchmark price for minor millets grown in different states. The Centre said it would help States get millets and give them out through the public distribution system (PDS).
At the moment, nine States buy millets like Jowar, Bajra, and Ragi at a price set by the Centre. This price is called the minimum support price (MSP). At the moment, minor millets are not being bought.
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Subodh Kumar Singh, an additional secretary in the Food Ministry, said that more millets were being bought with MSP. ‘The Agriculture and Food Ministries are working together to set a benchmark price for the minor millets. We want there to be more minor millets grown. ‘We hope their production will go up if the benchmark price is set,’ Mr. Singh said.
He said that the Center had taken steps to sell millets in fair price shops along with food grains. ‘It will be up to the States to decide based on demand and procurement,’ Mr. Singh said. He also said that millets had a short shelf life, which was why the Centre was asking the States to directly buy millets and sell them through the PDS. ‘It will help small farmers and farmers on the edge who grow millets. Considering the nutritional value of millets, it will be good for the people of each State,’ he added.
Millets from the last kharif season are now being bought and given out. ‘A number of states have offered to buy and give out millets. For example, it has been very easy to get ragi in Karnataka. The government has bought 5 LMT of ragi and will give it out along with the food grains. In the case of millets like ragi, the market price is lower than the MSP. We are assisting states in purchasing and distributing millets and coarse grains by providing financial assistance, he stated. Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, and Tamil Nadu are buying and distributing millets at the moment. He said, ‘We have asked Rajasthan to buy bajra and give it out through the PDS.’
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In 2021–2021, 6.5 LMT of millets were bought by the nine states. ‘As of now, Karnataka has decided to buy 7 LMT of millets by itself in 2022-23. In the country as a whole, 7.5 LMT have been bought. ‘In the future, we would like to increase the number of millets grown,’ he said.