New Delhi: The centre has raised the price it will pay to buy new-season wheat from farmers by 2 per cent – the lowest in a decade – to ₹ 2,015 per 100 kg. The country is the world’s second-biggest wheat consumer and sets a price each year to protect farmers from distress sales and to cover emergency needs.
The minimum support price (MSP) for mustard seed has been raised by ₹ 400 to ₹ 5,050 per quintal for the current crop year. The cost of production of wheat is estimated at ₹ 1,008 per quintal, the centre said in a statement.
MSP is the rate at which the government buys grain from farmers. Currently, the government fixes MSPs for 23 crops grown in both kharif (summer) and rabi (winter) sowing seasons.
The move to raise MSP comes amid protests by farmers against three new farm laws that they say would hurt them by giving control to private firms over agricultural produce. Despite the centre agreeing to come halfway by amending the laws, the farmers want nothing short of withdrawing the laws. The centre denies the farmers’ allegations and maintains that the laws are in fact beneficial for them by cutting out middlemen.
The decision to raise the MSP was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs or CCEA chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a statement, the CCEA said it has approved raising MSP for six rabi crops for the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) and 2022-23 marketing seasons. Rabi crops are sown between October immediately after the harvest of kharif crops. Wheat and mustard are the two major rabi crops.
The CCEA said the MSP has been raised to encourage crop diversification as the return to farmers over their cost of production are estimated to be highest in case of wheat, rapeseed and mustard, followed by lentil, gram, barley and safflower.