Karnataka

Shortage of grain production stares Karnataka in the face

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Among the host of steps taken by the Commission to encourage ragi cultivation was a plan to ensure a fair and remunerative price, which he sought to distinguish from minimum support price.

A severe shortage of home-grown foodgrains appears to be staring the State government in the face a year after it launched its flagship Anna Bhagya scheme, which assures 30 kgs of rice to poor families at Re. 1 per kg.

Though rice is procured from Chattisgarh and other north Indian States to meet the requirements of the scheme, the State government has of late decided to offer ragi and jowar as alternatives, which not only constitute the staple diet of farming families in south and north Karnataka, but would also reduce the State’s dependence on rice.

However, with the area under ragi and jowar cultivation in the State having decreased substantially over the last few decades reportedly due to un-remunerative prices, the State government has launched serious efforts to encourage farmers to grow ragi and jowar with the promise of fair price.

“Neither is rice available in sufficient quantity nor do we have enough ragi and jowar,” said Chairman of Karnataka State Agriculture Price Commission Prakash T.N. Kammaradi.

Dr. Kammaradi, who participated in a seminar to promote ragi in Mysore on Tuesday, told reporters that the State requires about 30 to 35 lakh tonnes of food grains every year to implement the Anna Bhagya and Midday meal schemes. But, a little over 10 lakh tonnes was available in the State. “Even though ragi and jowar are included in the scheme, these are not available in sufficient quantity,” he said. “We want the requirement of rice to be brought down to 15 lakh tonnes per year so ragi and jowar can make up the remainder,” he added.

Among the host of steps taken by the Commission to encourage ragi cultivation was a plan to ensure a fair and remunerative price, which he sought to distinguish from minimum support price.

“We will be adopting noted agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan’s formula that farmers have a margin of 50 per cent over input costs. If a farmer invests Rs. 1,000, the return should be at least Rs. 1,500,” he said, adding that the input cost for ragi, in a recent exercise, has been estimated to be Rs. 2,300 per quintal. As ragi was a labour intensive crop, Dr. Kammaradi said the State was in consultation with the Centre on the possibility of offering farmers the option of registering under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act for cultivating the crop.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 11:10:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/shortage-of-grain-production-stares-karnataka-in-the-face/article6332440.ece

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