The number of wheat farmers who availed the minimum support price (MSP) has doubled in the last five years, while the number of such paddy farmers has increased by 70 per cent during the same period, according to the latest official data.
The data was shared with Rajya Sabha Friday by Raosaheb Patil Danve, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, who gave a written reply to an unstarred question.
It assumes significance given that farmers in Punjab and Haryana have taken to the streets, fearing that the proposed farm laws will ring in the end of the MSP regime. On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi allayed fears, saying his government is committed to provide a fair price to farmers through MSP and government procurement will continue as before.
As of September 9, the number of wheat farmers who availed the MSP during the rabi marketing season (RMS) 2020-21 reached 43.33 lakh – up 22 per cent from 35.57 lakh last year.
The data shows that the number of wheat farmers who availed the MSP doubled (112 per cent increase) since RMS 2016-17 when that number was 20.46 lakh.
During the current rabi marketing season, the top five states with the highest number of wheat farmers who availed the MSP are Madhya Pradesh (15.93 lakh), Punjab (10.49 lakh), Haryana (7.80 lakh), Uttar Pradesh (6.63 lakh) and Rajasthan (2.19 lakh).
The data also shows that the number of paddy farmers who availed the MSP has reached 1.24 crore during the kharif marketing season (KMS) 2019-20. This is 28 per cent higher than 96.93 lakh paddy farmers who availed the benefit of MSP during KMS 2018-19. Data is not available for KMS 2020-21 because kharif paddy procurement has not yet begun.
The number of paddy farmers who availed the MSP has increased by 70 per cent since KMS 2015-16 when the number was 73.08 lakh.
The five states with the highest number of paddy farmers who availed the MSP during KMS 2019-20 are Telangana (19.88 lakh), Haryana (18.91 lakh), Chhattisgarh (18.38 lakh), Odisha (11.61 lakh) and Punjab (11.25 lakh).
In KMS 2015-16, Punjab was at the top of the list of 25 states and Union Territories where the highest number of paddy farmers had availed the MSP. The state has now been pushed to the fifth place. In fact, the state has seen a decline in the number of farmers availing benefits of MSP. But the number of wheat farmers availing MSP has gone up in the state.
In Haryana, the numbers of both wheat and paddy farmers availing MSP have gone up.
The government fixes MSP of 22 “mandated agricultural crops” and the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP).
However, the data about farmers who availed the MSP is available for the two crops as these are two principal products procured by the Food Corporation of India for the central pool. There are a few coarse grains like jowar and pulses too which are procured by government agencies.
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