THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State government has expressed dissatisfaction with the Central support price for paddy, with Agriculture Minister Mullakara Ratnakaran terming it a “negative” approach towards paddy farmers.
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Mr. Ratnakaran said Kerala had announced a procurement price of Rs.10 a kg for ordinary paddy and Rs.10.50 for grade A paddy. The Central government’s announcement of support price of Rs.8.50 a kg. was insufficient and did not reflect the ground reality. In fact, it was much below the rates recommended by the Central Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The recent conference convened by the Union Agriculture Minister in Hyderabad also was unanimous about declaring a higher support price for paddy.
Referring to news reports that Kerala and West Bengal did not give their views on support price for paddy, Mr. Ratnakaran said the State had informed its stand to the CACP on April 11. The State government had announced higher procurement rates with a view to providing relief to the paddy farmer and it was looking forward to a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs.10, he said.
Kerala had demanded a scientific formula for declaring the MSP at the State level in view of the high degree of variation in the cost of production of crops. In its letter, dated April 11, Kerala had stated that declaring the MSP for a particular crop at the national level was not rational. Productivity of rice in Kerala was lower than that in many other rice growing States. Besides, the cost of production was the highest in the country.