Kochi/Thiruvananthapuram: The state government will spend Rs 35 crore to ensure minimum support price (MSP) for vegetables.
If the market price drops below the input cost incurred by a farmer, the government will add 20 percent to the former and fix the MSP. This price will be revised every year. The scheme, stated to be the first in the country, will take effect on November 1.
The government has prepared a draft MSP list of 16 crops. The list includes 14 vegetable crops which are affected by fluctuating prices and Nendran banana and Kaithachakka (pine, screw-pine, pineapple).
A ministerial-level committee will give approval to the draft list in two weeks. The process could get delayed as Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar was recently tested COVID-19 positive.
A meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had discussed the draft on Tuesday but a decision could not be taken on the prices of some of the crops. The Agriculture Minister’s office said the Ministers of Finance and Local Self-Government would also give their inputs and be part of the decision.
The government would notify that the MSP is in force when a price drop is noticed at select markets of the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Kerala (VFPCK).
In the event, the government will pay the difference, known as the ‘gap fund,’ directly to the farmers.
The sealing has been fixed as 12 hectares per farmer. The productivity of each crop has been accessed per hectare. For example, 14 tonne is the per-hectare productivity fixed for pineapple. So, the MSP will be forthcoming only for 14 tonnes per hectare for this crop.
In the state 400 of the 1,670 primary agriculture societies will be part of the scheme. This part, the 261 farm markets of VFPCK, all outlets of Horticorp, and those under the Agriculture Department and the local bodies would be part of the scheme.
Farmers who intend to be part of the scheme may register on the agriculture information management system portal: www.aims.kerala.gov.in.
The agriculture assistant and the agriculture officer concerned will approve the request after scrutiny. Only those who have taken the agricultural insurance scheme will be considered for the project.