M A I N   N E W S

Rs 50 bonus for paddy farmers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 16
It is a festival bonanza for paddy farmers. The government today announced a bonus of Rs 50 per quintal over and above the minimum support price of paddy, a decision aimed at boosting the procurement of foodgrains in the current kharif marketing season.

As reported in The Tribune earlier, the minimum support price for both wheat and rice nearly match. Paddy MSP stands at Rs 850 per quintal for common variety and Rs 880 a quintal for grade ‘A’ variety. And the MSP for wheat is at Rs 1,000 per quintal. So, the effective procurement price after the bonus would be Rs 900 per quintal for common variety and Rs 930 per quintal for grade ‘A’ variety, bringing it very close to wheat prices.

Minister for science and technology Kapil Sibal said the additional incentive had been provided to boost procurement as well as production. The arrival of paddy in mandis has been slow this year as farmers were waiting for the bonus announcement.

As on today, the Food Corporation of India has procured over 56 lakh tonnes of paddy, out of about 63 lakh tonnes of arrival.

Officials said the procurement out of the total arrival was more this year in percentage term, but the arrivals of foodgrains in markets were less than last year.


Basmati status for Pusa 1121
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The Centre has agreed to give basmati status to Pusa 1121 paddy, bringing relief to farmers who now needn’t undersell this variety, which has already entered mandis.

Disclosing this to The Tribune, director, directorate of rice development M C Diwakar said a decision to this effect had been taken at a meeting of the Central Sub Committee on Crop Standards and Notification of Varieties.

The decision may however take a few days to be notified mainly because the geographical indicators of Pusa 1121 have not been listed. These indicators list the areas where the variety is grown and are a prerequisite before it can be exported.

According to sources, the Agricultural Food Production and Development Authority has made a note in this regard and will be taking approval of the commerce ministry after fixing the geographical indicators. Following this, the agriculture ministry will notify Pusa 1121 as a basmati variety.

Both Punjab and Haryana had repeatedly appealed to the Centre to declare Pusa 1121 a basmati variety. Though the Centre had allowed export of Pusa 1121, the fact that it was not declared a basmati variety had an impact on its procurement price. While at the beginning of the procurement season, it was selling for around Rs 1600 per quintal, it is at present selling between Rs 1800 and Rs 2,000 per quintal. Last year, farmers got up to Rs 2,600 per quintal for the variety.

Senior rice breeder S S Atwal, who was associated with the development of the variety, said once the notification came into being, the prices would go up to Rs 2,600 or more per quintal. All-India Rice Exporters Association president Vijay Setia, who had also taken up the issue with the commerce ministry, said the decision was in the interest of both farmers and traders.

Meanwhile in a significant development, Pakistani basmati, which came into India from across the border, may be denotified. Rice development directorate head M C Diwakar said this was because “we are not owners of the seed nor do we have the breeder seed of this variety with us”.

Young Farmers Association secretary Bhagwan Das Gupta said the denotification however would take time and assurances had been given to the association that farmers would not be affected by the decision in the current procurement season. He said the association had also advised farmers to wait for the notification on Pusa 1121 to take place and not bring their produce to mandis for sale for some time. 



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