‘MSP should be fixed based on cost of cultivation and provide for 50 per cent profit’

Expressing disappointment over the “meagre increase” in the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy announced by the Centre on Wednesday, farmers’ organisations have urged the National Democratic Alliance government to fulfil its election promise of ensuring 50 per cent profit to farmers over and above the cost of production.

The Centre on Wednesday increased the MSP by Rs. 50 for a quintal of ordinary variety paddy and by Rs. 55 for A grade variety for the kharif season after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. With this, farmers would get Rs. 1,360 a quintal for ordinary variety and Rs. 1,400 a quintal for A grade variety.

Terming it as tokenism, farmers’ representatives contended that the Centre had failed to take into account the cost of cultivation. “It has almost become customary for the Centre to make a nominal increase in MSP without factoring in the expenditure incurred for cultivation. The BJP government should change the approach and ensure that MSP was fixed based on cost of cultivation and provide for 50 per cent profit as promised by the party in its poll manifesto,” said Mahadhanapuram V.Rajaram, working president, Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association. Mr.Rajaram said farmers were expecting at least a minimum of Rs. 2,000 a quintal of paddy as the cost of cultivation worked out to Rs.25,000 to Rs.30,000 an acre. Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam State secretary R. Raja Chidambaram wanted the government to go by the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices. Although the Commission recommends prices taking into account the cost of cultivation, the Union government often overrules it. Recommendations of the commission must be binding on the government, he said.

Ayilai Sivasuriyan, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam affiliated to the Communist Party of India, said the MSP had come as a big disappointment to farmers who were faced with increasing cost of cultivation and drought condition. The Centre should implement the Dr. M.S. Swaminathan Committee recommendations providing for 50 per cent profit for farmers .

Prices of fertilizers had increased manifold and labour wages had increased. But farmers were not given a corresponding increase for their produce, said P.Ayyakannu, State vice-president, Bharathiya Kisan Sangam.