The Centre on Friday announced a hike in the support price of paddy marginally by Rs 60 to Rs 1,310 per quintal for the 2013-14 crop year, but the prices of some pulses and oilseeds were increased substantially by up to Rs 450 per quintal to boost output and reduce import dependence.

The decision in this regard was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday.

Briefing the media about the minimum support price (MSP) of 14 agricultural items for 2013—14 crop year (July—June), Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said: “Except for two items, we have accepted the CACP proposal. In case of bajra and tur, we have improved upon the recommendations of the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP).”

While MSP for common paddy has been raised to Rs 1,310 from Rs 1,250 per quintal, the support price of grade ‘A’ variety of paddy has been hiked by Rs 65 to Rs 1,345/quintal.

Sowing of paddy, the main kharif crop, begins with the onset of monsoon in June and harvesting starts in October.

The normal monsoon forecast by the Met Department for this year, coupled with hike in MSP, is expected to boost paddy area and productivity.

CCEA has also approved Rs 100 hike in cotton MSP to Rs 3,700 per quintal (medium staple) and Rs 4,000 per quintal (long staple).

In pulses category, the MSP of tur has been raised by Rs 450 to Rs 4,300 per quintal, while that of moong by Rs 100 to Rs 4,500 per quintal. However, the support price of urad has been retained at last year’s level at Rs 4,300 per quintal.

In the oilseeds category, CCEA has approved a hike of Rs 300 in the MSP of soyabean (black) to Rs 2,500 a quintal; Rs 320 rise in MSP of soyabean (yellow) to Rs 2,560 per quintal.

The MSP of sesamum seeds increased by Rs 300 per quintal at Rs 4,500. The support prices of sunflower seed and niger seed have been kept unchanged at Rs 3,700 per quintal and Rs 3,500 per quintal, respectively.

Among cereals, Mr. Chidambaram said the support price of bajra has been raised by Rs 75 per quintal to Rs 1250, while maize MSP has been hiked by Rs 135 per quintal to Rs 1,310 for this year.

However, the government has kept unchanged the MSP of hybrid variety of jowar and maldani variety of jowar at Rs 1,500 per quintal and Rs 1,520 per quintal, respectively.

Similarly, the support price of Ragi has been retained at last year’s level at Rs 1,500 per quintal, he added.

Farm experts have welcomed the hike in the MSP of some pulses and oilseeds saying that the move will encourage production and bring down the imports.

Imports of edible oils grew by 15.5 per cent, while pulses by 26.21 per cent in 2012—13 year—on—year basis as the country’s production remained stagnant and demand was higher, as per the industry data.

On other decisions related to Food Processing sector, Mr. Chidambaram said the CCEA has approved the continuation of the National Mission on Food Processing (NMEP) for the remaining period of the 12th Five Year Plan (2013—17).

“The continuation of the scheme will help in the decentralisation of the implementation of the ministry’s schemes, which will lead to substantial participation of state governments,” he said.

The outlay for the mission for the entire 12th Plan period has been kept at Rs 1,600 crore, consisting central share of Rs 1,250 crore and state’s contribution of Rs 350 crore, an official statement said.

The continuation of the mission will also help state governments in maintaining requisite synergy between agriculture plans of states and the development of food processing sector, it said.

Around ten schemes will be implemented under in the Plan period focusing on modernisation of food processing industries, especially cold chains, abattoirs, meat shops, food parks, among others, it added.