MP offers free use of warehouses for farmers to wait out price slumps

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday announced several sops for farmers on Monday. The state is slated to go to the polls later this year, and the announcement came 12 days before assembly bypolls for two constituencies, Mungaoli and Kolaras.

Of the 23 promises Chouhan made at a ‘kisan sammelan’ here, two stood out — Rs 200/quintal bonus for wheat and paddy and a tweak in the popular Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana (which cushions farmers against price crashes) to offer farmers free use of warehouses to store crops if they wish to wait out a slump in prices.
He said if farmers didn’t get the minimum support price (MSP) for their produce after four months, the government would purchase their crop under the Bhavantar scheme. “We will give a bonus of Rs 200 per quintal on the procurement price of wheat and paddy for 2017-18 under the CM agriculture productivity scheme. Not only this, the government will procure wheat and paddy at an MSP of Rs 2,000 per quintal.”
Last year, wheat was procured at Rs 1,725 per quintal. Though the chief minister did not reveal the budgetary allocation for the sops, sources said provisions would be made for them in the state budget for 2018-19.
Congress dismissed the promises as “poll gimmickry”. State Congress chief Arun Yadav challenged the CM to announce a timeline for the promises.