Support price for paddy, pulses hiked

The country as a whole is expected to receive 627.5 mm rain between June 1 and August 19. Instead it received only 463.4 mm of rain – a shortfall of 26 per cent. Last week, monsoon deficiency was 29 per cent.

Anticipating a production shortfall, the Union Cabinet on Thursday has hiked the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy, tur, moong and sesame. The hike is the maximum for tur followed by rice and moong.

Tur, whose price skyrocketed in the last two months, will have an MSP of Rs ,2300 per quintal – a 15 per cent jump from the 2008-09 MSP.

MSP for both common and grade-A rice has been hiked by Rs 100, said Union Home Minister P Chidambaram after a Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs meeting. While the MSP for common paddy will be Rs 1,050 per quintal, for better quality rice, it will be Rs 1,080 – more than 11 per cent jump in both cases. Officials from the Indian Meteorological Department said as many as 343 districts, out of a total of 533 districts, received either deficient or scanty rainfall since June 1.

Rainfall deficiency in 65 per cent districts has led to the prevailing drought scenario. The shortage was only 19 per cent in India’s last drought year in 2002. Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has confirmed that as many as 246 districts across 10 states are under drought. While paddy is the worst victim, production of oilseeds and sugarcane may also drop due to poor monsoon.

There is little chance of improvement as El Nino conditions are likely to stay throughout the second half of 2009.

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology that compared El Nino in seven international weather models, Pacific Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) will remain above El Niño thresholds throughout most of the second half of 2009.

Last week copious rainfall was witnessed in parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. But it was too late as standing paddy crop in UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa and Assam is already adversely affected.

Pawar will meet the state agriculture ministers again on Friday to chart out the course of future action in mitigating the effects of drought.

DH News Service

*343 districts, out of a total of 533, received either deficient or scanty rainfall since June 1
*Tur will have an MSP of Rs 2,300 per quintal

*MSP for both common and grade-A rice has been hiked by Rs 100

*Minimum support price for common paddy will be Rs 1,050 per quintal, for better quality rice, it will be Rs 1,080 per quintal

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