Minister for food, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan said that the Central government should give top priority to procure grains directly from farmers and to reach out more farmers. He told that procurement prices of wheat, mustard, chana etc have already been raised by 6-11% and the immediate focus would be to make sure more farmers can sell to state agencies.
The Central Government with the help of State Governments is planning to open more procurement centres to ensure that farmers get the minimum support price (MSP), Paswan said. The government has said it will seek to address the concerns of farmers. That's likely to see an intensified focus on boosting the rural economy.
Officials in the food ministry said that West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar States are also more focusing on direct procurement of produce from farmers .The states such as Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh already had one procurement centre.
Paswan said that state governments have been asked to set up more centres and step up procurement, to ensure that farmers get the benefit of MSP fixed by the Centre on important commodities grown in a particular season.
The government has already relaxed quality norms in terms of moisture content for wheat and rice during procurement drives, Paswan said. "These measures, at a time when farmers are in distress, are being undertaken to ensure remunerative prices are given to them for their produce," he said. Food ministry officials said MSP has been increasing annually with a thrust on pulses and oilseeds.
“Annually, the MSP for kharif pulses has increased by over 7% to 8% and for rabi pulses it's been increased over 10% annually," an official said. "Also, wheat prices have seen an annual 6% increase and 4.5% in rice MSP." Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh had told that the government will intensify farmer welfare schemes and ensure their effective implementation as well as the payment of MSP.
The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) has suggested legislation giving farmers the right to sell at MSP to instill confidence among them when it comes to procurement. MSP is fixed based on the CACP's recommendation.