Headless Karnataka agricultural panel likely to increase farmers’ woes
In July this year, the state government scrapped posts of chairpersons of various commissions, including the Karnataka Agricultural Price Commission.
Published: 09th November 2022 02:05 AM | Last Updated: 09th November 2022 02:05 AM | A+A A-
BENGALURU: On the one hand, the Union government speaks about doubling farmers’ income, and on the other, the state government has not bothered to appoint a chairman for the Karnataka Agricultural Price Commission (KAPC) for the last few months. The chairman, who acts as a facilitator between the government and the farmers, plays an important role in fixing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops.
The Karnataka Agricultural Price Commission, which was constituted in 2014, gives recommendations to the state government from time to time on crop production, cultivation costs, transportation and crop insurance.
In fact, last year, post-Covid, the commission, headed by Hanumanagouda Belagurki, had asked the state government to recommend to the Centre to increase crop loss compensation under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
In July this year, the state government scrapped the posts of chairpersons of various commissions, including the Karnataka Agricultural Price Commission. Since then, the Commission is not active. Sources in the Agriculture Department said there are 27 major crops grown in Karnataka for which a report on the cost of cultivation has to be prepared and sent to the Union government for fixing the MSP.
“The Union government goes ahead and fixes the MSP even if the report is not submitted. Our farmers will be deprived as their voices will not be heard. We are already three months late in sending the report,” sources from the department said.
Explaining it further, sources said a survey on the cost of cultivation reveals how much a farmer has spent on seeds, manure and fertilisers, and based on that, the price is recommended. “If our report does not reach the Centre, they might fix the previous year’s price which will cause losses to the farmers,” sources said.
According to a report submitted to the government a few months ago, the existing Rs 6,800, Rs 13,500 and Rs 18,000 per hectare for rain-fed, irrigated and horticulture crops respectively, are not adequate. It should be Rs 50,000 per hectare for Agri crops and Rs 1 lakh per hectare for multi-year crops.
When contacted, Agriculture Minister B C Patil said his department has sent a letter to the chief minister appealing to him to appoint the Agriculture Department secretary as the chairperson for the time being, till the government appoints the next chairperson.