Agri Business

Kharif crop: Farm Minister promises higher support prices this year too

| Updated on: May 31, 2016
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Govt expects farm output to rise on better monsoon

The minimum support price (MSP) for kharif crops, including pulses and oilseeds, will be increased this year as well and the hike will be “more than expectations”, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has said.

The Minister expressed hoped that agriculture production would be higher in 2016-17, if the forecast of an ‘above normal’ monsoon by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) came true.

“Since production did not fall when rainfall was deficient last year, it is bound to increase if rainfall is plenty this year,” Singh said at a press conference on Tuesday, on two years of governance by the NDA.

Growth in agriculture has been estimated at 1.2 per cent in 2015-16, against a negative 0.25 per cent in the previous fiscal because of two consecutive years of drought.

Answering questions on whether the government would increase MSP for kharif crops, especially pulses, this year – to promote its cultivation and reduce dependence on imports – the Minister said the Centre had done so last year and would do so again.

The increase will be more than expectations, he added. The Union Cabinet is expected to take a decision on MSP for kharif crops (crops grown in the monsoon season) soon.

Bt Cotton

When asked why the Ministry had put up the licensing guidelines for Bt cotton technology for consultations after notifying them, Singh said it was done as a lot of suggestions were coming in. “We have circulated the draft licensing guidelines for new traits of genetically modified cotton to get views of all stakeholders. After 90 days, we will go through comments and proposals, and then take a decision,” he said. The Minister however, clarified that the Centre’s decision to cap the price of Bt cotton seed in March this year at ₹800 per packet of 450 gram, had not been rolled back.

Centre sets target

Despite lower rainfall in 2015-16, farm production had not taken a hit, Singh pointed out, adding that it was the result of the hard work done by scientists in the development of drought-resistant seed varieties.

The Centre has set a target of achieving 270.10 million tonnes of foodgrain production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June). Due to drought in the past two years, foodgrain production fell to 252.02 million tonnes and 253.23 million tonnes in 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively, from a record production of 265.04 million tonne in 2013-14.

Published on January 20, 2018

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