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India - Loss Harvest For K’Taka Farmers

The agrarian community is yet to recover from the series of farmers’ suicides last year and it may not be adequately prepared for another crisis. The NDA government in the Centre has declared only a marginal increase in minimum support price (MSP) for various crops despite rising costs of agricultural inputs.

As per the new norms, while it takes Rs 2,150 to produce a quintal of ragi (the staple crop of Karnataka), the union government has offered an MSP of Rs 1,725, causing farmers a loss of up to Rs 500 per quintal. Paddy farmers are likely to incur a loss of about 36 per cent; toor dal farmers may lose about 19 per cent in revenue while groundnut cultivators can expect a 47 per cent loss. The steep decrease in the MSP, when compared to the UPA regime, has left farmers worried. They are traversing the state to create awareness about the Centre’s alleged anti-farmer policies.

Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Sachin Meega, chairman, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (Kisan Cell), said, “The latest MSP for the kharif season is just a 4.8 per cent increase from what had been announced last year. However, the percentage of increase was over 15 per cent during the UPA regime. At a time when cost of agricultural inputs and production is skyrocketing by 10-15 per cent, the Union has no concern about the plight of farmers.”

The developments have left the state government worried since it may have to shell out supplementary MSP to support the distressed farming community. Sources revealed to BM that currently, the state is paying an additional Rs 450 per quintal under the Annabhagya scheme to overcome the deficit.

“Southern India has been reeling under severe drought for two consecutive years. The reduction in MSP has only further aggravated the problem and this will affect the food production severely. Who would like to invest in crops when there is no guaranteed return of investment?” asked a farmer from north Karnataka.

The state government, meanwhile, is banking on a bounteous monsoon, and stocked up with seeds and fertilizers. Similarly, the union government has also cut down annual Rs 300 Cr funds under National Horticulture Mission affecting lakhs of farmers who have taken to cultivation of horticulture crops.

“Of the 175 taluks, as many as 48 per cent area is under the cultivation of horticulture crops. We will go to every district and explain to the farmers about NDA government’s dual stand,” Meega said

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