A worker holds a handful of unprocessed rice grains in a rice processing plant. (Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg)

CCEA May Raise Minimum Support Prices Of Paddy, Ragi Today

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs will meet today to approve the hike in support prices of kharif crops to honour the government’s promise of ensuring farmers at least 1.5 times the price of the production cost.

The committee is expected to raise the minimum support price for paddy by Rs 200 to Rs 1,750 per quintal, sources told wire agency PTI. Among the 14 kharif crops, the maximum hike in MSP is likely to be for ragi, which is expected to be increased by Rs 900 to Rs 2,700 per quintal for 2018-19 crop year (July-June), the sources said.

Paddy is the main kharif (summer sown) crop, the sowing of which has already begun with the onset of southwest monsoon. For crop year 2017-18, paddy MSP was fixed at Rs 1,550 per quintal for the common grade and Rs 1,590 per quintal for the Grade A variety.

“In some of the kharif crops where the MSP is already 1.5 times of the production cost, the increase will be minimal. But there will a sharp increase in crops like paddy, ragi and moong, whose MSP are well below the 150 percent of the input cost,” an official source said.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the Cabinet will approve the increase in MSP in its upcoming meeting. In this year’s general budget, the government had announced that it would fix a support price at least 1.5 times of the cost of the production. This has been the BJP’s poll promise since the 2014 general elections.

Sources said that the agriculture ministry has proposed higher MSP than what has been recommended by the government advisory body Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices. This was done considering the growing farm distress because of fall in prices of most crops owing to bumper production, they added.

Normally, the MSP is announced just before the start of the sowing to help farmers choose the crop they want to sow. Sowing of kharif crops has begun with the onset of southwest monsoon and harvesting will start from October.

Also read: Modi’s Promised Higher MSP Is Far From What Farmers Need: Nomura