A whopping 90% of the farmers in Maharashtra are paid the minimum support price (MSP) for their produce after over a month, while states like Karnataka pay their growers on the same day of a purchase, finds a recent study conducted by NITI Aayog.Only 20% of the farmers in the country receive the MSP of their produce on the spot, the study reveals. Titled ‘Evaluation Report on Efficacy of Minimum Support Prices on Farmers’, the study — the results of which were published recently — was conducted by NITI Aayog at the agriculture ministry’s request. It covered 14 states and 1,440 households. The reference period of the study was from 2007 to 2011.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report also highlights that delayed payments have a negative impact. It reads, “The needy farmers do not wait for delayed payments and, hence, sell their produce at an even lower price to middlemen instead of waiting for the MSP payment.”A large percentage of farmers in Maharashtra, including those in severely drought-affected regions, are unaware about the MSP before sowing their crops, which makes their life tough and unplanned, while also forcing them, when often under distress, to sell their produce at a lower rate than the MSP.The report says, “In the selected districts of Yavatmal and Latur, 75% and 33% of the households were aware of the MSP. Seventeen per cent in Yavatmal and 44% in Latur knew about the MSP before the sowing season and the rest after the sowing season.”The report is probably an eye-opener for the Maharashtra government, which has been struggling for over a decade now to arrest the increasing number of farmer suicides, which touched 1,000 in 2015.Based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, the department of agriculture and co-operation declares the MSPs for 22 crops before their sowing seasons every year. The idea behind the MSP is to give guaranteed prices to the farmers and protect them from market imperfections. States run a network of procurement centres to purchase produce directly from the farmers.Procurement centres being far away which in turn results in heavy transportation costs, these centres not being opened on time, too much paper work, and a lack of covered facilities for the temporary storage of produce are among other deterrents cited by the farmers. “The delay in payment needs to be corrected and immediate payment should be ensured, besides more awareness programmes for farmers,” recommends the report.A professor of agriculture said, “Awareness of the MSP increases the bargaining power of farmers. Non-dissemination of information only helps middlemen and their political bosses.”

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90% of farmers made to wait for MSP of crops: Report