Panel favours 50 per cent mark-up for farm support prices

The working group on agriculture set by the central government has recommended acceptance of the report of the National Commission on Farmers, which suggests a 50 per cent mark-up on the actual cost of cultivation or adoption of the Bureau of Industrial Cost and Prices (BICP) formula used for estimating industrial costs as the methodology of fixing support prices for agricultural produce.

The group wanted the Commission for Agriculture Cost and Prices (CACP) to review its pricing formula in the context of the need to provide remunerative prices to farmers, minister of state for agriculture and food processing industries Arun Yadav informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply today.

The central government should fix the minimum support price (MSP) for vegetables, especially potato, onion and garlic, according to the group.

In order to arrive at the right prices for agricultural commodities, it is necessary that the market be freed of all sorts of restrictions on movement, trading, stocking, finance, exports etc.

"No monopoly, including that of APMCs or corporate licensees, should be allowed," it said.

The working group has suggested interventions like timely sowing, balanced use of fertilisers and soil ameliorants, improving water use efficiency etc to bridge the horizontal and vertical gaps in yield by ascertaining appropriate measures through specific studies.