The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, a crop advisory body, has recommended to the government that steps should be taken to bring urea under the Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) regime to address the problem of imbalanced use of nutrients.

In its non-price policy recommendations for the kharif crops 2023-2024 season, the crop advisory body has recommended that the government should set a cap on the number of subsidised bags of fertilizers per farmer as has been done for subsidised LPG cylinders, which would reduce the government’s subsidy burden, releasing resources to invest in agriculture R&D and infrastructure development.

CACP observed that the fertilizer response and efficiency has continuously declined over decades mainly due to imbalanced use of nutrients, deficiency of micro and secondary nutrients and depletion of soil organic carbon, while fertilizer subsidy has been on the rise. Hence it has suggested measures to control the imbalanced use of fertilizers, while recommending a 5-10 per cent increase in minimum support price for the kharif crops 2023-24, which was approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Reducing edible oil imports

Further the CACP has also recommended that farmers should be encouraged to increase production of oilseeds and protected against uncontrolled imports through dynamic tariff structure linked to world prices, demand-supply situation and domestic prices of edible oils linked to MSP of oilseeds. “Since, imports of refined edible oils have increased in recent years and adversely affect domestic refining industry, the Commission further recommends that duty differential between crude and refined oil may be raised to about 10-15 per cent to discourage import of refined oils,” CACP said. Also to reduce the import dependence, the CACP has recommended that the National Mission on Edible Oils (NMEO) should be launched with a special focus on major oilseeds such as rapeseed & mustard, groundnut, soybean, sunflower seeds.

Also, in a bid to promote the production and consumption of millets, the crop advisory body has recommended a two-pronged strategy to address both supply and demand side challenges. It has recommended an increase in production of millets through genetic improvement, strengthening seed chain, improved agronomic practices and enhanced shelf-life through value-addition, while creating demand by including millets in the public distribution system and other welfare schemes, industrial usage of millets and exploiting export market opportunities.