Even as the slow movement of the monsoon has drastically affected the Kharif crops sowed by farmers across the country the Union Cabinet on Wednesday announced a Minimum Support Price (MSP) of 14 Kharif crops.
The MSP hike, the first since the government was re-elected earlier this year, pales significantly when compared to increase in the last Kharif season, just before the general elections this April. The quantum of increase however, does not significantly deviate with the increase in non-election years.
This year, for paddy – the country’s main Kharif crop – the new MSP is Rs 65 per quintal more compared to last year.
The MSP of rice, which was bought by Central and state governments last year at Rs 1,750-1,770 per quintal last year, has increased by Rs 65 this year to Rs 1,815-1,835. The crop, on an average, is sown in more than 40 per cent of the total area covered by the rest of the crops named for the MSP hike on Wednesday.
The new MSPs stood at Rs 2,550-2570 for Jowar, Rs 200 for Bajra, Rs 3,150 for Ragi, Rs 1,760 for Maize, Rs 5,800 for Tur (Arhar), Rs 7,050 for Moong and Rs 5,700 for Urad. The MSP for cotton is now Rs 5150-5450 per quintal. Among oilseeds the MSPs for Groundnut, Sunflower seed, Soyabean, Sesamum and Nigerseed are Rs 5,090, Rs 5,650, Rs 3,710, Rs 6,485 and Rs 5,940 per quintal respectively.
In 2018 the MSPs for Ragi, Jowar, Bajra and Maize had jumped by 57 per cent, 42.9 percent, 36.8 per cent and 19.2 per cent respectively when compared to 2017.
Data from the agriculture ministry, which was published on June 28, also indicated that sowing of Kharif crops has been slower compared to the average for the corresponding week. The data shows that rice, normally grown in 35.54 lakh hectares during this time, has only been sown in 27.09 lakh hectares – a dip of roughly 24 per cent. Similarly, the sowing area for Jowar fell by less than half from 2.37 lakh hectares to 1.11 lakh hectares. The slowest crop however, was Soybean, sown in just 2.75 lakh hectares – barely a fifth of the total area it normally covers.
Apart from a delayed monsoon, the country also witnessed a 32.8 per cent deficient rainfall for the month of June. But according to the India Meteorological Department, monsoons will be better in July and August.