Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Friday argued against the fixing of a minimum support price (MSP) for crops — as suggested by the Swaminathan Committee — in Maharashtra, saying farmers here would derive less dividend from it compared with other states such as Gujarat. “The disadvantage for farmers in Maharashtra is the low yield, which defeats the commission’s suggestion for enforcing a uniform MSP model,” Fadnavis said in the Maharashtra Assembly.
“The government believes that the MSP model would be detrimental for Maharashtra’s farmers, whose yield per hectare is much below than the average in states like Gujarat,” he added Citing an example, the chief minister said, “In Maharashtra, an average Rs 35,000 invested per hectare would give dividends of Rs 44,000. Whereas in Gujarat, for an average Rs 42,000 invested, returns would be around Rs 88,000.” Indicating that the Congress-NCP government had been pursuing wrong agricultural practices, Fadnavis said the focus of his government was on policy reforms, by boosting investment to enhance production.
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The chief minister claimed that except for sugarcane, the Swaminathan recommendations would not work as desired for any crop in Maharashtra. The central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been working on all the recommendations of the commission, and the Union Cabinet has also looked into the aspect of MSP for crops.
But suggestions received from various states say that a uniform formula cannot be slapped across board. According to the Swaminathan Commission, “Farmers should be provided a minimum support price (MSP) of at least 50 per cent more than the weighted average of the cost of production.” The argument was based on the factor that fixed higher prices would mean assured income for farmers and sustainable farm practices.
However, several states, where landholdings are small and proportion of production per hectares is low, are not in favour of enforcing the recommendations. In Maharashtra, said Fadnavis, the government is trying to boost the agriculture sector by improving irrigation facilities by schemes such as the Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan, bring in collective farming, provide soil security and uninterrupted power supply, and introduce scientific crop patterns.