Base prices for 16 agricultural items, including vegetables, fruits and tubers, will come into force in the State from November 1, Keralapiravi day.
The Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the proposal to introduce the base prices designed to protect farmers from adverse price fluctuations in the market. The government has termed the initiative as the first of its kind in the country.
The base price has been arrived at by calculating the production cost plus 20% on the basis of a study conducted by the State Agricultural Prices Board. To curb malpractice, the government has also fixed a ceiling for per-hectare productivity for each of the items.
The base prices (a kg) are as follows: tapioca (₹12), Nendran banana/Wayanadan Nendran (₹30/₹24), pineapple (₹15), ash gourd (₹9), cucumber (₹8), bitter gourd (₹30), snake gourd (₹30), string beans (₹34), tomato (₹8), ladies' finger (₹20), cabbage (₹11), carrot (₹21), potato (₹20), beans (₹28), beet root (₹21) and garlic (₹139).
In the event of the market prices of the aforementioned items falling below the base price in a district, a district-level committee will declare the base price as having come into force in that district. The quality of produce will be a criterion.
To become eligible, farmers have to upload the area of their farmland, data on sowing, expected harvest and harvest time before the season on the web portal www.aims.kerala.gov.in . The AIMS mobile app is downloadable from Google Play Store. They should also avail themselves of crop insurance. A farmer will be eligible for base price for a maximum of 15 acres in a season.
The Agriculture Department has joined hands with the Local Self-Government Department and the Cooperation Department to introduce the pricing, Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar said. The produce will be procured through the outlets of the department, VFPCK and Horticorp, and the Primary Agricultural Credit Cooperative Societies, Mr. Sunil Kumar said.
At present, the Centre declares Minimum Support Price (MSP) for 22 products, primarily grains, pulses and oil seeds, paddy and copra, ahead of the season. Only the MSP for paddy and copra are mainly relevant in the case of Kerala, according to the Agriculture Department.