Ahead of the Assembly poll scheduled in December in Rajasthan, farmers have demanded a legal guarantee of the minimum support price (MSP) in at least four crops in which the State is the largest producer in three and the second-biggest in one, on an experimental basis. If not done before the model code of conduct is enforced, farmers of other States will also join in a campaign mobilising support for the demand.

After a day-long deliberation in New Delhi on September 16, Kisan Mahapanchayat, a farmer organisation with a major base in Rajasthan, has decided to create awareness among farmers on the theme of “No MSP, No Vote”.

Speaking to businessline, Kisan Mahapanchayat’s President Rampal Jat said: “We have proposed the State government to implement the compulsory MSP scheme for moong, bajra, mustard, and jowar, as Rajasthan is the top producer of these crops, as an experiment. The State government can buy at MSP and sell it at a fixed price above it when traders refuse to buy.”

Asked about Maharashtra’s failed experience of enforcing MSP in soyabean, as traders bought at lower rates from Madhya Pradesh, Jat claimed that the benchmark price would be followed in the market because these crops would not be “adequately” available below MSP in Rajasthan.

“If Rajasthan produces half of mustard crop, which will be available not below MSP, automatically the price of the crop in other States will be at par,” he said, adding that such an experiment will provide a solution to farmers’ long-pending demand.

Meanwhile, the Centre’s committee on legal MSP, headed by former agriculture secretary Sanjay Agarwal, is scheduled to meet in Mumbai on September 26. Sources said the committee is likely to submit a report, maybe interim, before Diwali.

According to Rajasthan government data, mustard production in the State was 63.31 lakh tonnes (lt) in 2022-23, which is 51 per cent share out of 124.94 lt output across the country. Similarly, moong (green gram) production was 11.75 lt (31 per cent share) out of 37.4 lt all India output and bajra (pearl millet) production in the state was 58.9 lt (53 per cent share) out of 111.66 lt all India output.

Jat said that Rajasthan is the biggest producer of jowar (sorghum) in kharif season as Maharashtra produces this nutri cereal crop in rabi season. According to State government data, Rajasthan had 38 per cent share in 2022-23 kharif output of jowar with a production of 5.67 lt out of the national output of 14.87 lt. However, when production of both kharif and rabi crops is combined, the State’s share was 14 per cent.

Meanwhile, average mandi prices in Rajasthan during September were ₹8,033/quintal in moong against its MSP of ₹8,558/quintal, ₹1,958/quintal in bajra against ₹2,500/quintal MSP and ₹2,937/quintal in jowar against ₹3,180/quintal MSP after arrivals of new harvest started.

Asked about the recent higher than MSP rates seen in a few mandis when moong arrived, Jat said: “The legal MSP will ensure that farmers will have an assured income, like employees get through their salary, and even there is a government-fixed minimum daily wage. We are asking for those, as for them, options are wide and open.”