Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: At a time when the farmers camping in the national capital are fighting with vim and vigour to, what they call, maintaining the sanctity of MSP (Minimum Support Price), a big blooper by the Odisha government with regard to MSP has come to the fore.

The eye-popping revelation is Odisha government has neither provided the data on the projected yield rate of paddy per hectare nor the anticipated cost of cultivation estimates of per quintal paddy to be produced during the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) of 2020-21.

The Commission for Agriculture Cost and Prices (CACP), before estimating the MSP for a crop, consult with all the States, whereby states share their projections on the cost of production of a crop for a particular season (Kharif or Rabi) with the Commission.

When contacted State Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo, who is currently embroiled in Pari controversy, said , "I will look into the matter and then only can spell out the precise reasons."

However, farmer leaders slammed the State government for not presenting the cost data to CACP. "This takes the mask off Odisha government. On one hand it has passed a Cabinet resolution asking the Centre to hike the MSP for Paddy and other 22 crops, while on the other it abdicated the responsibility of presenting factual data on the cost of production and yield rate of Paddy to CACP," charged Akshay Kumar, Chief coordinator of Navnirman Krushak Sangh (NNKS) and added that Odisha paddy farmers are already bearing a loss of around Rs 700/quintal at the current MSP.

Experts Take On Data Omission To CACP

"The CACP sends a detailed questionnaire to states every year enquiring details about the cost of production/cultivation during the last three agriculture seasons (Kharif and Rabi). Based on the yield rate and operational costs for a farmer in the last three years, CACP forms a 'Comprehensive System' (CS) data. And based on the assessment CACP prepares the cost of production of a crop for the TE(Triennium Ending) up to the year preceding the MSP declaration year," said Dr Neeraj Kumar, former professor of Rural Development, Agribusiness, XIM Bhubaneswar.

For the 2020-21 KMS year, CACP will consider the cost of the production of a quintal of paddy for the TE ending 2019-20 KMS, (means the KMS of 2017-18, 2018-29 and 2019-20) for a realistic assessment of MSP for any State, he explained it further.

A glance at the CACP 2020-21 Kharif Report reveals that the projection CACP made for Odisha is based on TE of 2018-19 (means the years of 2016-17, 2017-18 an 2018-19). And the Commission estimated the cost of production of paddy at Rs 1831/quintal for the KMS of 2020-21 for Odisha.

In contrast, all the top rice producing states, except Maharashtra, had made available all details of the latest (TE 2019-20) cost of cultivation. For which, the CACP got a realistic assessment of the operational cost of farmers on the ground in those states.

Why Odisha Fails To Submit Cost Of Production Data?

Even as under the centrally sponsored scheme “Establishment of an Agency for Reporting Agricultural Statistics”(EARAS) in Odisha has been operational since 1976-77, where it collect all the relevant data like yield rate, irrigation coverage etc, estimating the cost of production of paddy in the State has not been a regular practice for years, disclosed a former OUAT Vice Chancellor.



As a result, the State Government had repeated the same cost of production projections (Rs 2344) for paddy for the two consecutive years --2017-18 and 2018-19. The State had not provided its projections on cost of production for paddy in 2019-20.