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Maharashtra govt suggests reforms to increase pulse production

Apart from higher mandatory MSP, state is exploring 12 month sowing cycle to enhance yield

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai |
November 19, 2015 2:41:39 am
pulse, pulse prices, pulse production, pulse news, pulses india, pulse maharashtra, maharashtra news, india news Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had raised the issue of minimum support price for pulses.

The Centre has convened a meeting of all state agriculture ministers in Delhi next week to discuss long-term policies aimed at boosting production of pulses and oilseeds.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged Union Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to convene meetings with state ministers to evolve a ten-year plan to address challenges relating to pulses and oilseeds in the country.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had raised the issue of minimum support price for pulses. But what is yet to be discussed is the issue of maximising yield per hectare and combating the 25 per cent loss in pulses owing to infection (disease) to minimise the expenditure on individual farmers.

The state government has roped in services of agriculture research centres to provide solutions to the problems. The state is also planning to discuss with the centre the possibility of 12 month crop pattern instead of two crops to ensure higher production of pulses.

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Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse indicated that “in the next few months, we would experiment with pulse cultivation round the year. It would be taken up in pilot projects in some parts of Vidarbha.”

The presentation to be made at the centre by state includes policy reforms to make sowing of pulses more lucrative and economically sustainable. The state government presentation has made a case for making it compulsory for the centre to make a provision for declaring a higher minimum support price for “tur dal”.

“Once MSP is fixed, it would ensure farmers get assured returns.”

Maharashtra, which accounts for 30 to 35 per cent pulses cultivation has seen farmers looking for alternative crops instead of pulses because of low returns which was also compounded by three years of successive droughts.

Interestingly, unlike other crops, for pulses, only a moderate amount of water is needed and can be grown in a hot climate in regions such as Marathwada and Vidarbha. Yet, there is uncertainty for farmers as it is more susceptible to diseases, which accounts for loss of one third of the crops.

Khadse said “Statistics clearly shows production of pulses in the state steadily declined in the last decade. This is because returns are not assured.”

Unless the centre draws a ten year plan, it would be difficult to have a surplus production of pulses in the state or country, he has said.

The state government believes farmers who cultivate pulses and oilseeds will have to be backed financially. The incentives would include subsidised seeds and fertilsers.

Traders told to keep price in check

To tackle price rise, CM has urged the traders association to ensure price does not exceed Rs 120 to 125 per kg for pulses in the open market. The ministry of food and civil supplies has been asked to take effective measures through action against those defying the orders. The state has noted that seized stock worth 46,397 metric tonnes, besides 30,000 mt from the port which was allowed to be lifted to overcome shortage, remains to be channelled into the market.

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