Mandi prices of 5 out of 11 major kharif-grown crops ruled above their respective minimum support prices (MSPs), while soyabean and groundnut are at par with the benchmark rates. Only moong (green gram), maize, ragi (finger millet), and bajra (millet) are at lower levels, according to prices at the agriculture market yards (mandis) during the first two months of the harvesting season.

The pan-India average prices of jowar, tur, cotton, urad (black gram), and paddy (non-Basmati) are 5–38 per cent higher than their MSPs. Though paddy (non-Basmati) rates widely vary from State-to-State depending on varieties, the all-India average rate shows farmers received ₹2,291/quintal, which is 5 per cent more than its MSP of ₹2,183/quintal.

Mixed trend

“There is a mixed trend in prices, and all are not reflecting the actual demand-supply position. For instance, moong prices showing below MSP, both at the all-India level as well as in Rajasthan, is more due to government intervention since its production has dropped. Similarly, maize prices in Karnataka are higher than MSP, but pan-India they are showing lower, which could be due to lower quality in other States,” said an official source.

Experts said that prices of crops are most likely to remain above MSP as government estimates show a drop in production, whereas there is hardly any buffer from previous years except where the government has intervened.

Among the kharif crops, tur prices in Uttar Pradesh were on average ₹9,410/quintal as against MSP of ₹7,000/quintal, up by 34 per cent during October–November, according to data maintained by the Agmarknet portal. But the all-India average mandi price was even higher at ₹9,665/quintal.

Jowar prices in Maharashtra were on average ₹4,607/quintal against MSP ₹3,180/quintal, up by 45 per cent, whereas the all-India average rate was ₹3,737/quintal. Farmers in Rajasthan sold urad at ₹7,978/quintal, 15 per cent above the MSP of ₹6,950/quintal, but the all-India average of the urad was ₹7,474/quintal as rates were lower in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh than Rajasthan.

Cotton (medium) rates in Mandi commanded ₹6,961/quintal against its MSP of ₹6,620, whereas the price in Gujarat was ₹7,019/quintal, data show.

On the other hand, the all-India average maize price recorded 7 per cent lower than MSP at ₹1,951/quintal, mainly due to low rates in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh, whereas it was 4 per cent higher at ₹2,163/quintal in Karnataka and above MSP in many other southern States.

Moong prices at ₹7,806/quintal were 9 per cent below the MSP of ₹8,558/quintal pan-India and 14 per cent below the MSP in Rajasthan during October–November. Rajasthan farmers also received 16 per cent less than the MSP of ₹2,500/quintal, though the all-India average was 12 per cent below the benchmark price. The Mandi price of Ragi was reported at ₹3,213/quintal, down by 17 per cent from its MSP of ₹3,846/quintal. In Karnataka, ragi is sold on average at ₹3,247 per quintal.

The agriculture ministry has estimated 2023 kharif foodgrain output to total 148.57 million tonnes (mt), lower by 4.6 per cent from a year-ago. The target was 158.06 mt.