At a time when farmers of Saurashtra are complaining about low minimum support price (MSP) for cotton, Union Minister of state for Agriculture, Mohan Kundariya on Friday announced that the central government will declare base prices for crops of kharif season in May instead of the current practice of declaring them in August.
“In our country, the sowing for kharif or monsoon season generally begins in the third week of May. But the government declares MSP for crops of this season in August. In such a scenario, farmers do not know which crop will get higher incentive from the government. To help farmers take an informed decision about sowing crops, the central government has taken a policy decision to declare MSP for crops of kharif season in the month of April or latest by May 15 from this year onward,” Kundariya said while speaking at a seminar in Junagadh Agricultural University (JAU), in Junagadh.
Kundariya said that MSP for crops of rabi season or winter will be declared in month of August accordingly.
Saurashtra is the largest producer of cash crops like cotton and groundnut in the state. However, cultivators of this region had held demonstrations in November and December demanding the Central government raise the MSP for long staple cotton from the current Rs 4,000 per quintal. They argued that prices of natural fiber in the market were hovering around the MSP against an average of Rs 5,000.
The Minister, who is an MP from Rajkot, was in Junagadh to inaugurate the annual Shivratri fair in the foothills of Mount Girnar near Junagadh and to attend the seminar at JAU. Kundariya further said that JUA will soon start community radio for farmers of Junagadh district.