VIJAYAWADA: Agriculture Minister K Kannababu appealed to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) to take into consideration the actual cost of cultivation, while fixing minimum support price (MSP) for Kharif 2020-21 for major crops like paddy, cotton, groundnut and others.
He also asked the CACP to also declare MSP for millets, for which the State government has decided to set up a board and urged that farm activities be included in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
Speaking at a workshop organised by CACP to interact with the stakeholders for southern States for recommending price policy for Kharif crops here on Friday, the minister explained the initiatives of the YSRC government for welfare of the farmers.
“We are a pro-farmer government and are taking steps to ensure that farmers are supported in every way possible. The farmers are the only people who purchase everything needed for farming in retail market and then sell the produce in wholesale. MSP is a major issue as it is far lesser than the cost of cultivation, which has significantly increased. We request you to consider the actual cost of cultivation while fixing the same,” he said.
He said as per the recommendation of Swaminathan Commission, MSP should be 50 per cent higher than the average cost of cultivation was also not being implemented.
Kannababu also appealed to the commission to declare MSP for millets. “We have decided to set up boards for millets and pulses for promoting their cultivation and supporting cultivators. We also have plans to introduce millets in public distribution system (PDS) and mid-day meals,” he explained.
Efforts are being made to establish food processing units in every Assembly segment and storage units across State, the minister added.
“Mapping for the same is underway,” he observed.
CACP chairperson Vijay Paul Sharma, who kick-started the workshop, elaborated on the trends in cultivation. He stressed that it was high time that the farmers moved away from cultivating paddy and wheat, and opted for millets.
“The MSPs are remunerative, if not entirely. The issue is that small and marginal farmers don’t have access to market. Since we have had a record production, we need to now focus on marketing,” he noted.
Andhra Pradesh State Agriculture Mission (APSAM) vice-chairperson MVS Nagi Reddy sought that actual cost of cultivation be the benchmark for MSP fixation.He gave details of how the cultivation cost increased significantly, but the MSP remained lower.