AP’s MSP for chilli, turmeric disappoints

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on October 02, 2020

Farmers contend that it is below their cost of production

The Andhra Pradesh government’s statement announcing MSP for 22 crops (excluding two variants of paddy and cotton) comes at a time when private mandis and a common national market for agri produce are being debated as the three Central agricultural acts came into force last month. All the MSP prices announced by the State seem to be taken from the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices’s recommendations for the kharif marketing season 2020-21.

MSPs announced for chillies, cotton, turmeric and paddy by the Andhra Pradesh State government are too low, say farmer activist groups. For commercial crops such as turmeric and chillies, according to farmers, the cost of production a quintal works out to be ₹7,000-7,500. But the MSP offered by the State for turmeric is ₹6,850. For chillies, the MSP is ₹7,000 per quintal. It is a similar story for cotton as well, where the MSP is ₹5,825 for long staple and ₹5,515 for medium staple, but cost of production is higher.

Dattagiri, a farmer from Pedda Oduguru near Gutti, pegged the cost of production for cotton at ₹30,000 an acre; yields are around 6-8 quintals an acre. “We need MSP of ₹6,500-7,000 a quintal in order to recover costs in case of lower yields,” he said.

‘Short of expectations’

“The MSP has come out way short of expectation. The government should have held discussions with farmers’ organisations and agricultural experts. The rates should have factored in the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Committee,” KVV Prasad, Secretary of the CPI-Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham, told BusinessLine. “The government should reconsider the rates and revise them to make them remunerative,” he added.

Keshava Rao, President of All-India Kisan Sabha (Andhra Pradesh), criticised the government for not announcing any hike over and above the MSPs announced by the Union government. “It should take a cue from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh governments that announced a bonus over the Central MSP for paddy farmers,” he said.

The YSRCP government in the State has fulfilled a poll promise by announcing the MSP. Since it is a maiden year for the new MSP system in the State, it remains to be seen how effectively it will be implemented, say observers. Hassle-free procurement process and timely payments would help build confidence in the system, say farmer activist groups.

The State should be ready with sufficient go-down space and a mechanism to dispose the produce procured from the farmers, they add.

MSP helps resource-poor small and marginal farmers as a bulk of their income comes from agricultural operations. A Central government-conducted study in 2016 vouched for the fact that MSP impacts farming methods and investments. About 78 per cent of farmers have adopted improved methods of farming (usage of high yielding varieties, organic manure, inputs) as they were encouraged by the MSP announcements, it says.

Published on October 02, 2020

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