Farming MSP

Jowar, Soyabean, Paddy, farmers made an extra ₹8,241Cr above MSP

Jowar, Soyabean, and Paddy, farmers made an extra ₹8,241Cr above MSP

Jowar, Soyabean, and Paddy, farmers made an extra ₹8,241.6 Crores above MSP

Farmers who sold cotton, soyabean, paddy, and jowar crops in the agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) markets from October to December 2022, the main harvesting season, made an extra ₹8,241.6 crore over the combined minimum support price (MSP) value, while growers who stuck to urad, moong, bajra, and ragi were unable to get the MSP.

The official Agmarknet portal, which is part of the Agriculture Ministry, has collected data on arrivals and average all-India mandi (market) prices over the last three months.

Related Agri News | Niti Aayog: MSP can only ensure a stable price, not the best price

This data shows that cotton was priced at ₹8,326/quintal, which is 37% more than its MSP of ₹6,080/quintal (medium variety). Soybean sold for ₹5,051 per quintal, which is 17.5 percent more than the MSP of ₹4,300, and paddy sold for an average of ₹2,171 per quintal, which is 6 percent more than the MSP of ₹2,040. Jowar had a small average mandi rate of₹ 3,092/quintal, which was 4% more than its MSP of ₹2,970.

Cotton farmers in Telangana are upset that the prices of their crop are going down. Officials say that the drop between November and now is about ₹500/quintal in a month. ‘The drop doesn’t mean much because cotton prices have changed so much this year. In some markets, they have gone up or down by ₹800/quintal in a single day.

If rates fall below MSP, the government will have to step in. But it looks like cotton prices will stay high for at least another one to two months, an official said. He used the example of soyabeans, whose price has gone up from ₹5,254/quintal in December to ₹5,339/quintal now.

Ragi gets the worst of it

Nearly 1% less was paid for tur, maize, and groundnut in Mandi than in MSP. Prices for urad were 11% less than MSP, and prices for moong and bajra were 14% less than MSP. According to data, ragi was sold for more than 30% less than the MSP.

In the absence of a legal guarantee, farmers are thought to have lost ₹568 crore. However, they have received more than the cost of production (A2+family labour), as calculated by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). Only ragi saw a price decrease of more than 30%. For urad, moong, and bajra, the return over costs is not as bad because the MSP is based on a minimum of 50% profit over costs.

‘The market is strong enough to handle the legal guarantee, which is clearest in the current situation. The rise in commodity prices after the Russia-Ukraine war showed that the legal guarantee of MSP would not hurt the exchequer, according to VM Singh, president of MSP Guarantee Morcha, an umbrella group of more than 200 organisations. Singh said that now is the right time to agree to the request.

Tap market opportunities

Last month, Ramesh Chand, a member of Niti Aayog, talked about agriculture at a conference. He said that the MSP of crops could help farmers get stable prices, but fair competition on the market was the only way to get the best prices. In response to the farmers’ request to make MSP a legal right, he said that farmers want the best price for their crops and protection from price changes.

Related Agri News | CCEA voted to raise MSP for copra by 3–7 % for 2023 season

Chand, who is also on the MSP committee that the government put together, thought that farmers should take advantage of market opportunities instead of becoming dependent on MSP. If the fair market price is less than the MSP, he said, business owners are likely to leave the market, which would be bad for the government’s finances.

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