Jaspal Singh (40), a farmer sitting at the local grain market along with his maize crop, sees no hope for getting a good price for his ‘spring maize’ crop. The price being offered is Rs 800 to Rs 850 per quintal, the same as the last two seasons; and 40 per cent below the rate fixed for crop by the Commissioner of Agriculture Cost and Price (CACP).
Jaspal grows maize on 45 acres, including around 24 acres on lease in Salempur village of Jalandhar. Harvesting of the spring maize crop has already started in Doaba region, the main belt for crop that is grown after potato harvesting in February-March.
CACP had recommended MSP for maize at Rs 1,425 per quintal for the year 2018. Also, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his Budget 2018 speech had said that under the Swaminathan Commission recommendations, the MSP for the crops would be fixed and farmers will be given 50 per cent more return over their production cost.
“We are waiting for the price under Swaminathan Commission report,” said Jaspal, adding that at least Rs 1,200 to 1300 per quintal minimum price was needed to make the crop viable.
“Now the new crop is already in the market and the rate is still very low. Government must act as per its promise,” he urged.
Ajit Singh, a farmer from Kishangarh village, said: “We need fair price to survive.” Spring maize is gives 36-39 quintal yield per acre due to its hybrid seed and a farmer can earn around Rs 55,000 if sold at the rate of Rs 1,425 per quintal which is recommended by the central government. This year around 38,000 hectares was dedicated to spring maize in Punjab which is sown between February 15 to March 15 after potato harvesting. This maize is mostly grown in Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahr, and some parts of Hoshiarpur, Ropar, Ludhiana districts.
Director, Agriculture Punjab, Dr Jasbir Singh Bains, said that department mostly recommends the rainy season maize, but several farmers in Punjab go for spring season maize because it is is quite remunerative due to high yield. He said that farmers must get the reasonable prices for their crops.