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June 2024

Switch from rice, wheat, cane to get MSP on select crops: govt tells farmers

This initiative aims to encourage farmers to shift from traditional paddy cultivation practices, including paddy and sugarcane, to improve soil health.

The crops grown as part of diversification will be procured directly from farmers at the MSP without any quantitative limit. (mint)

New Delhi: The government will procure unlimited amounts of maize and some common pulses at their minimum support price (MSP) from farmers who grow these in place of wheat, rice and sugarcane for the next five years, a senior official said on condition of anonymity.

The guaranteed offer is part of a crop diversification plan and applies to maize and three types of pulses — masurtur (pigeon pea) and urad

In addition, the government will also procure unlimited amounts of cotton at MSP for the next five years, but this is not linked to the diversification plan.

This initiative aims to encourage farmers to move away from harmful practices used for traditional crops that damage soil health. Paddy and sugarcane are water-intensive crops, while growing wheat requires less water, but soil health has worsened due to uncontrolled use of fertilizers.

The government’s assured procurement guarantee scheme will apply to all farmers across all states, the official said.

The guaranteed procurement scheme will apply only to those farmers who transition from traditional crops to pulses and maize. Farmers already cultivating these crops will not be eligible for the scheme’s benefits.

Farmers can avail the benefits of the scheme through self-certification but “a more robust mechanism” for tracking will be developed in the future, the official stated.

The database of national crop insurance schemes will be utilized to verify claims made by farmers under the crop diversification scheme.

India, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s consumption of pulses, imported 2.9 million tonnes (mt) of masurtur (pigeon pea), and urad in calendar year 2023, marking a 39.7% increase from the 2 mt imported in the previous year.

India, which relies on imports to meet its domestic demand of about 28 mt, primarily purchases these three pulses from Australia, Canada, Russia, Myanmar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sudan and Malawi.

The surge in imports of these three pulses can be attributed to anticipated lower production for two consecutive crop years (2022-23 and 2023-24) caused by unseasonal rainfall in October 2022 and deficit rainfall in major growing states during the southwest monsoon 2023.

The focus on increasing maize production is aimed at meeting ethanol production demands. Ethanol can be produced from maize, which is a short-duration crop that matures in 40 days. QR Code

Published Date: March 8, 2024

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