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MSP for farmers: A step in the right direction

Ziraat Times Editorial Board

The Union Cabinet’s recent decision to approve a minimum support price (MSP) increase for 14 Kharif crops is a move in the direct direction. This move, if implemented effectively, could  bolster the agricultural sector and address long-standing demands of farmers across the country. The hike in MSP, which includes a notable ₹ 117 increase for paddy, is intended to ensure farmers receive a minimum of 50% above their cost of production. The MSP regime is also likely to extend its benefits to farmers in Jammu & Kashmir, at least for the crops raised here by the farmers.
The increase in MSP is a direct financial boon for India’s farmers. By guaranteeing a price that is at least 1.5 times the cost of production, the government aims to provide a safety net for farmers against market fluctuations. The move is estimated to result in an additional ₹ 35,000 crore in earnings for farmers compared to the previous year. This financial gain, if translated well in per capita terms, is expected to alleviate some of the economic pressures farmers face, enabling them to invest in better quality seeds, fertilizers, and other essential inputs, thereby potentially improving crop yields and overall productivity.
For staple crops like paddy, the MSP increase to ₹ 2,300 per quintal represents a 5.35% hike, which could significantly enhance the profitability of rice farming. Similar increments across other crops, such as cotton, millets, pulses, and oilseeds, reflect the government’s broader strategy to support diverse agricultural practices and encourage crop diversification.
 J&K’s farmers cultivate a variety of crops, including rice, maize, pulses, and oilseeds. The increased MSP for these crops may provide a much-needed economic uplift for the state’s  agrarian community. Specifically, the MSP for maize set at ₹ 2,225 per quintal could benefit J&K farmers, who extensively cultivate this crop.
Additionally, the emphasis on pulses and oilseeds could encourage J&K farmers to diversify their crop portfolio, potentially leading to enhanced soil fertility and better income stability. The financial security offered by the MSP could also mitigate the risks associated with adverse weather conditions, which frequently affect the region.
While the government’s decision has been hailed as a positive step, reactions from farmer organizations have been mixed. Many farmer groups appreciate the increase in MSP and acknowledge it as a move in the right direction. However, they emphasize that the MSP alone is not a panacea for the numerous challenges facing the agricultural sector. Issues such as access to credit, irrigation facilities, storage infrastructure, and market linkages remain critical areas that require comprehensive policy interventions.
Some farmer leaders have reiterated their demand for a legal guarantee of MSP, arguing that without a statutory backing, the MSP regime could fail to deliver its intended benefits. They point out instances where farmers had to sell their produce below the MSP due to lack of procurement infrastructure and market access. Thus, they urge the government to ensure robust procurement mechanisms are in place, especially in remote and underserved areas.
The Union Cabinet’s decision to hike the MSP for Kharif crops represents a major step to support India’s farmers and strengthen the agricultural economy. While the immediate financial benefits are clear, the long-term success of this policy will depend on complementary measures that address broader structural issues within the agricultural sector. Ensuring effective implementation, including in Jammu & Kashmir, and responding to the feedback of farmer organizations will be crucial for realizing the full potential of the MSP regime.

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