Karnataka agri panel pitches for hike in crop loss relief
In report presented to CM, Karnataka Agriculture Price Commission also calls for strengthening APMCs
BENGALURU: The Karnataka Agriculture Price Commission on Tuesday asked the State Government to recommend to the Centre for an increase in crop loss compensation under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) and also take measures to strengthen the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) that saw a drastic decline in trading in the last year.
In its report, the Commission stated that Rs 6,800, Rs 13,500 and Rs 18,000 per hectare for rainfed, irrigated and horticulture crops, respectively, is not adequate. The commission felt that a recommendation should be sent to the Centre to increase it to Rs 50,000 per hectare for agri/cash crops and Rs 1 lakh per hectare for multi-year crops.
It also expressed concern over the decline in the number of farmers opting for crop insurance. Registrations declined from 21 lakh in 2016-17 to 15 lakh in 2020-21, the report stated and suggested that crop insurance should be made mandatory by changing the guidelines to make it more farmer-friendly.
After receiving the report from Karnataka Agriculture Price Commission chairman Hanumanagouda Belagurki on Tuesday, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said suitable action will be taken in the interest of the farmers.
The report also suggested the need to strengthen APMCs as trading dropped significantly in the last year after their jurisdiction was restricted to their premises and private firms were allowed to directly procure from farmers.
In 2020-21, only 74.14 lakh tons of agricultural produce, which accounts for just 21 per cent of the state’s production, was traded at the APMCs. The report stated that of the 74.14 lakh tons, only 13 lakh tons were sold at prices higher than the Minimum Support Price. The market cess collection dropped from Rs 618 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 294 crore in 2020-21 and the APMCs are in financial crisis, it stated.
For procurement and supply of horticultural crops, the Commission recommended that the government establish the Karnataka Horticulture Marketing Federation on the lines of Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF). Belagurki told TNIE that such a system will help protect farmers and consumers. Consumers are paying higher prices, but farmers are getting only a fraction of it, he said.
The Commission conducted a survey on the cost of cultivation, covering 2000 farmers across the state. It found that the MSP is not 50 per cent over and above the cost of cultivation as claimed by the Centre, but is varying. In some crops, it is much less. The report also highlighted measures to improve the income of farmers, adoption of integrated farming and water conservation.