Karnataka wants Centre to hike MSP for farm produce

Karnataka wants Centre to hike MSP for farm produce
Karnataka has urged the Centre to increase the minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural produce.

Speaking to journalists here on Friday, Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda suggested that farmers’ income has dropped because of the Centre’s reluctance to adequately increase the MSP. The Centre usually hikes the MSP by 10% to 15% a year. But the hike has been just 5% in the past three years. This is one of the reasons for farmers being in distress, he added. He said that since the average yearly inflation had been 6%, the MSP should be increased by at least 10% in the interests of farmers.

Gowda described as inadequate the input subsidy of Rs 795.54 crore released by the Centre for loss of rabi crops in Karnataka and said the state government had been expecting Rs 1,200 crore. He said the government was taking steps to distribute the input subsidy to the aggrieved farmers and will deposit it directly in their bank accounts.

The minister said the government would soon announce a Rs 34-crore package to encourage farmers to grow millets. Farmers will be paid a cash  incentive of Rs 2,500 per hectare for growing millets. The Agriculture Department aims to grow millets on 18 lakh hectares of area in the state this year. Minor millets were grown on about 20,000 hectares last year. The plan is to increase it to 40,000 hectares this year, he added. The government will form 392 farming clusters, with millets being grown on about 100 hectares in each cluster. The department has also planned to help farmers get in touch with private companies for selling their produce so that they can get attractive prices, he said.

Sowing picks up pace

The sowing of various kharif crops has picked up pace and farmers have so far covered 17.50 lakh hectares — about 24% higher than the area of cultivation in the same period last year. The department has set a target of 73 lakh hectares for sowing in the kharif season this year, Gowda said.

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