The government on Wednesday hiked the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy and 13 other crops as farmers are getting ready for current kharif planting season.

The MSP for paddy will go up by ₹72 to ₹1,940 per quintal, while the floor price for maize will rise a modest ₹20 to ₹1,870/quintal. This insignificant increase is to dissuade farmers from going for maize as an alternative crop to paddy.

Most pulses and oilseeds crops, whose market prices are ruling higher than the prevailing MSP rates, however were considered favourably by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which approved the new MSP.


Highest increase

The highest MSP increase this year is for sesamum, up ₹452 to ₹7,307/quintal. Similarly, the floor prices of tur and black gram will go up ₹300 to ₹6,300/quintal. The MSP for groundnut and soyabean have been raised by ₹275 and ₹70, respectively, to ₹5,550 and ₹3,950 a quintal.

The MSP of cotton (medium staple), at ₹5,726/ quintal, in up ₹211. Similarly, the floor price of cotton (long staple) has been set at ₹6,025/ quintal, up ₹200 from last year.

Announcing this to the media, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said there has been a substantial increase in the MSP of most crops in the last seven years. In 2014, the MSP of paddy was ₹1,360/quintal, which has now been increased to ₹1,940, Tomar said. He said the government has been keeping MSP at least 50 per cent more than the cultivation cost since 2018.

‘Old trick’

However, Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the coalition of farmer groups that has been protesting against the new farm laws since November, in a statement, said instead of using the comprehensive C2 as a cost concept, the government continued its old trick of using paid costs + imputed value of family labour, known as the A2+FL formula, for calculating the MSP.

The increase in the MSP is not at par with the inflation rate. Moreover, there is no system that guarantees that every farmer gets at least the MSP as the minimum price and hence it is a meaningless increase, the SKM said. “That is why the movement has been demanding a legal right to MSP for all farmers...,” it said.

Devinder Sharma, an independent agriculture expert, said even when the price of maize was ₹1,850 per quintal (as per the prevailing MSP), farmers were selling it for ₹800-850 per quintal even two days ago, echoing the sentiments expressed by the protesting farmer leaders.