Kerala

Royalty, MSP hike evoke mixed response

Headload workers transferring paddy sacks into a truck from a country boat at Nedumudi in Kuttanad in the just-concluded ‘puncha’ season.

Headload workers transferring paddy sacks into a truck from a country boat at Nedumudi in Kuttanad in the just-concluded ‘puncha’ season.  

₹2,000 per hectare as royalty for owners of cultivable paddy land under Rice Development scheme

The State government’s decision to provide royalty for owners of cultivable paddy land and Centre’s nod for a hike in Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy have evoked mixed response among experts and farmers.

The State government on Monday accorded administrative sanction for release of ₹40 crore for providing royalty of ₹2,000 per hectare to owners under the scheme Rice Development.

G.S. Unnikrishnan Nair, a retired Additional Director of Agriculture, says giving royalty for owners of cultivable land of paddy is a welcome measure. But more field-level measures are required to increase paddy area and production so that cultivators get a premium price.

“We should go for a farming strategy involving lesser labour and input requirements that are highly productive. For this, the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) will be a good choice. Though the SRI is one of the components of the Rice Development scheme in the State, we are yet to take it up seriously. Up to 40% higher yield can be obtained by using the SRI,” he says.

SRI practices include developing nutrient-rich and unflooded nurseries, ensuring wider spacing between rice seedlings, using compost or manure instead of synthetic fertilizers, and proper management of water to avoid saturation of the rice plant’s roots.

Premium varieties

“These practices contribute to more fertile soil and healthier plants supported by greater root growth and the nurturing of soil microbial abundance and diversity,” Mr. Nair says.

He says the other area the State should focus on is the production of premium rice varieties with high market value. “Medicinal, coloured and scented rice varieties are gaining good market the world over. Steps should be taken to revive padasekhara samitis and measures to make mechanisation more effective. Besides timely procurement, small-scale processing needs to be encouraged,” Mr. Nair says.

Meanwhile, some farmers have welcomed an increase in the MSP for paddy by ₹53 per quintal, while others have termed it a meagre hike given the soaring production cost.

“It is a marginal rise. For farmers, it is not going to do much of a difference. Each passing season, the cost of production is spiralling,” says Renil Kumar K.K., secretary, Vavakkad North Padashekharam in Kuttanad.

Vinod Kumar, a farmer, urges the government to provide the procurement price in a time-bound manner.

The hike of ₹53 for 2020-21 will see the MSP of paddy (common) going up to ₹1,868 and that of paddy (grade A) to ₹1,888. With this, the procurement price of one kg of rice in Kerala will be ₹27.48.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 13, 2020 2:19:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/nod-for-2000-per-hectare-royalty-to-paddy-land-owners/article31731819.ece

Next Story