With the announcement of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for various khaif crops (April to October) by the Union Cabinet Wednesday, farmers in Punjab said that Rs105 increase in the MSP for cotton was not enough for them to diversify from paddy crop to other ‘kharif crops like cotton’. There has been just two per cent MSP increase (from Rs 5150 per quintal last year to Rs 5255 per quintal this year) in medium cotton, which is grown in Punjab.
“We are concerned about the depleting ground water of Punjab and want to diversify paddy area to other crops like cotton, which takes less water than paddy, but it seems that government has no concern about the water problem of Punjab. To decrease area under paddy it is important to enhance the MSP of other crops to a compatible level,” said Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Dakaunda, general secretary Jagmohan Singh, adding that in past one year due to hike in diesel, fertiliser, insecticide prices, Rs 100/quintal hike in cotton would not meet the input cost.
“We were expecting that after seeing the poor plight of the farmers in its first term, Modi government will do something better this time but it has again cheated farmers,” said BKU Ugrahan general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan. He said that along with cotton, just one per cent MSP increase for moong dal was increased was a “joke”.
Paddy growers said that with just Rs 65 increase per quintal from Rs 1750 to Rs 1815 per quintal, is just 3.6 per cent increase in MSP. While input cost has gone up 10 to 15 per cent.
“The per quintal input cost of paddy has gone up more than Rs 65 in past one year and how can this hike be justified,” said Harjeet Singh, a paddy grower of Kapur village in Jalandhar.