Rice acquisition in MSP increases 23%: government data
The Union government bought a record 47.9 million tonnes of kharif rice (monsoon crops) in its ongoing procurement operations, 23% more than last year, according to data released by the government.
Almost 6 million farmers have received Rs 9 billion minimum support prices for these purchases, the data shows.
The highest hiring comes at a time when agricultural unions protesting at the Delhi borders have demanded that the guaranteed prices set at the federal or MSP level be a legal right.
Rice is the main summer staple that boosts income for growers in states like Punjab. Official Food Ministry projections show that total government purchases for summer rice (2020-21) will likely reach 74.2 million tonnes, compared to the total amount of 62.7 million purchased during 2019-20, a 18% increase. Punjab’s share of the total rice acquisition is 42%.
The Ministry of Food has expanded its procurement operations, which refer to the government’s purchase of agricultural products at assured prices, for crops sown in summer to cover some 10.5 million rice growers, compared to 10 , 2 million last year.
The government has also increased the number of rice purchasing centers by 27%, which now stands at 39,122, up from 30,709 last year, official figures show.
Farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting reforms that allow agribusinesses to freely trade agricultural products, allow private traders to store staples for future sales, and establish new rules for contract farming. A crucial change is that traders, agribusinesses and supermarkets can buy products in any market, rather than only in notified markets where they are licensed to operate. The government enacted three laws on September 24 to usher in these changes.
The laws have angered farmers, especially in Punjab, who fear the reforms could pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, which offers farmers a guaranteed price, leaving them vulnerable to the powerful. agribusiness and in an even weaker negotiation. position than before.
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To appease farmers, government food purchasing agencies have launched large purchasing operations in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Gujarat, Assam and Andhra Pradesh.
The Center has set an MSP for the so-called common rice variety at Rs 1,868 per quintal and for the Grade A variety at Rs 1,888 per quintal for the current year. The government had initially set a total rice procurement target of 49.5 million tonnes for the entire country for the 2020-21 kharif season.
In addition, the government has also accelerated the purchase of other crops.
“Until December 30, 2020, the government through its nodal agencies has acquired 251 633.79 MT of moong, urad, peanut and soybean pods with an MSP value of Rs 1,346.76 million benefiting 1, 35,813 farmers in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan, ”read a government note.
Without doubt, production of kharif or summer crops this year is likely to be a record 144.5 million tonnes, slightly higher than the 143.4 million tonnes produced during the 2019-20 kharif season, according to a official forecast.