New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) More than 2 crore farmers benefited from the government's procurement of seven commodities at the minimum support price (MSP) during 2019-20, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed Parliament on Tuesday.
Tomar, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, however added that it is difficult to assess the accurate number of farmers benefitting from MSP as the procurement is done by government agencies under various schemes.
'Besides, the overall market also responds to declaration of MSP and Government's procurement operations which results in private procurement on or above the MSP for various notified crops. Therefore, accurate number of farmers benefiting from MSP declaration is difficult to assess,' Tomar said.
However, about 2,01,16,575 farmers benefitted from the government's MSP procurement during 2019-20, he said.
Of this, 1.24 crore were paddy growers, 35.57 lakh wheat growers, 21.50 lakh cotton farmers, 11 lakh pulses growers, 8.42 lakh oilseeds farmers, 3,744 jute growers and 3,439 copra growers.
Further, Tomar said the government declares MSP for 22 major agri-commodities of fair average quality (FAQ) each year in both crop seasons after taking into account the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
The government also extends remunerative price to farmers through its various intervention schemes.
The minister explained that the government extends price support for paddy and wheat through the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies.
Under this policy, whatever foodgrains are offered by farmers within the stipulated period and conforming to the specifications prescribed by government are purchased at MSP by the state government agencies as well as FCI for the central pool.
It aims to service the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes of the government so that subsidised foodgrains are supplied to the poor and needy, and to build up buffer stock to ensure foodgrain security.
Further, different types of nutri-cereals and maize are procured by state governments in consultation with FCI to the extent that the concerned state government may utilise the same for distribution under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS).
The minister also mentioned that oilseeds, pulses and copra of fair average quality (FAQ) are procured from registered farmers at MSP as part of the Price Support Scheme (PSS) under the umbrella scheme of Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) in consultation with the concerned state government as and when market prices of these items fall below the MSP.
Under PM-AASHA, states are offered to choose either PSS or Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS) in a given procurement season with respect to particular oilseeds crop for the entire state.
Further, states have the option to roll out Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme (PPSS) on pilot basis in a district/selected APMCs of district involving the participation of private stockist for oilseeds.
Tomar said cotton and jute are also procured by the government at MSP through the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) and the Jute Corporation of India (JCI).
For making effective procurement by government agencies at MSP and providing maximum benefits to the farmers, the minister said procurement centres are opened by respective state government agencies and central nodal bodies like NAFED and FCI after taking into account the production, marketable surplus, convenience of farmers and availability of other logistics/ infrastructure such as storage and transportation.
Large number of the purchase centres in addition to the existing mandis and depots/godowns are also established at key points for the convenience of farmers to ensure procurement and also to prevent sale below MSP, he added. PTI LUX LUX ABM ABM