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Need to chop incentives for paddy cultivation: Siraj Hussain, former agriculture secretary

A great formulation is to maintain the obligation at a degree in order that the price of imported oil is just not decrease than the price of home oil at MSP.

By Prabhudatta Mishra 

Siraj Hussain spent 18 years of his profession dealing with agriculture, meals and allied sectors in Centre in addition to Uttar Pradesh, out of which 10 years as joint secretary, further secretary and secretary within the Union authorities. He was additionally chairman and managing director of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) throughout 2010-12. Currently, he’s a senior visiting fellow on the Delhi-based Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (Icrier). Hussain spoke to FE’s Prabhudatta Mishra on a number of points in Indian agriculture — from surplus meals administration to the affect of Covid-19 circumstances within the rural areas and from rising different crops of paddy to attain self-sufficiency in edible oils. Edited excerpts:

As stories of extra variety of optimistic circumstances coming from rural India through the second wave of Covid, how is its affect seen within the subsequent kharif sowing?

The rural areas in a number of states are certainly reeling beneath the onslaught of the epidemic. The unhealthy information is that there’s a large hole in vaccination between city and rural areas, besides in Gujarat, Kerala and Rajasthan. There is ample availability of agricultural labour because of migration. If the Covid-19 scenario begins enhancing and the component of worry is checked by a decrease variety of circumstances and better vaccination, the kharif sowing operations are usually not more likely to have an effect on adversely. Monsoon will hit north-west solely in early July, by then the wave is more likely to subside

After the 2009 drought, India’s foodgrains output has not seen a lot affect every time there may be an general deficiency in rainfall as such much less rainfall was restricted to a couple areas/areas. With a steady surplus of rice and wheat manufacturing yearly, what’s the manner out in meals coverage administration?

This is a posh query and the reply may be discovered solely was put together a 10-year street map in session with states. The incentive for rising paddy has to come back down and the identical for alternate crops, for which India is import-dependent, has to extend.

IMD has predicted a traditional monsoon, however some areas of jap India could face beneath regular rainfall. Since paddy is the principle crop on this area and irrigation can also be decrease in comparison with different rising states, is there any menace to paddy crop?

In the previous, region-wise predictions of monsoon haven’t turned out to be very correct. The regular rainfall within the jap states may be very excessive. Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim obtain about 2,000 mm of rain whereas Bihar and Jharkhand get about 1,000 mm. So, even when IMD’s prediction comes true, a barely decrease rainfall won’t have a lot affect on kharif crops within the jap area.

There have been talks on a shift away from paddy and different water-guzzling crops, notably in Punjab and Haryana for years. Why has not it taken off?

According  to information of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), wheat, paddy and sugarcane present the very best return to farmers. In the case of sugarcane, even the non-public sector is remitted to pay worth mounted by the federal government. In the case of wheat and paddy, there may be sturdy procurement in most states (Bihar is an outlier). Haryana offered an incentive of Rs 7,000 per acre for rising cotton or maize rather than paddy however maize costs collapsed in 2020-21 and the farmers earned a lot lower than they might have, from paddy. So, procurement by the federal government is a big incentive to proceed with wheat and rice.

Where has India’s coverage gone fallacious for it to slide from a self-sufficient nation in edible oils within the 1980s to a Rs 75,000-crore/yr importer now? Will the distribution of the free seeds be useful within the nation changing into self-sufficient in oilseeds?

The National Mission on Oilseeds and Pulses is just not very well-funded. At the slightest hit of inflation, the governments (regardless of events) have been lowering import obligation on palm oil, which additionally occurs to be the most affordable oil, obtainable in ample amount. The higher-yielding seeds together with a good-looking incentive to farmers to develop oilseeds in each kharif and rabi crops could ship leads to 5-7 years. In February 2018, a working group of Niti Aayog submitted demand and provide projections to 2033. In 2032-23, the demand for oilseeds is projected to be about 100 million tonne (MT) whereas home provide can be solely about 60 MT.

The authorities calibrates the import obligation periodically in order that minimal help costs (MSP) of oilseeds are protected. A great formulation is to maintain the obligation at a degree in order that the price of imported oil is just not decrease than the price of home oil at MSP.

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