Kathmandu, December 8
The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) has recommended support price for paddy at Rs 2,200 and Rs 2,400 per quintal for the ongoing fiscal year.
While MoAD has recommended Rs 2,200 per quintal for thick paddy, Rs 2,400 per quintal has been recommended for medium-sized paddy, according to Yogendra Karki, spokesperson for MoAD.
MoAD recently wrote a recommendation letter to this effect to the Ministry of Supplies (MoS). The MoS is expected to approve the MoAD recommended support price for paddy for this fiscal from the Cabinet soon.
Last year, the government had fixed the minimum support price of thick paddy at Rs 2,070 per quintal and medium-size paddy at Rs 2,230 per quintal.
“We have decided to increase the support price for paddy targeting farmers this year as production cost of the cereal crop has increased slightly this year compared to the previous year,” said Karki.
According to him, the minimum support price of paddy that has been recommended for this year is higher also to support farmers whose paddy plantation was
affected by the adverse monsoon this year.
However, the delay in formal announcement of the minimum support price for paddy has affected farmers across the country who have already completed harvesting the crop. As per MoAD, paddy harvesting has already been completed in more than 95 per cent of farmlands in the country.
Though MoAD has forwarded the minimum support price of paddy to MoS, the Supplies Ministry is yet to take the proposal to the Cabinet for approval.
Seeking anonymity, a source at MoS said that the entire process to determine the minimum support price for paddy has been delayed due to the election.
As a result of the government’s delay in fixing the price, farmers across the country are not sure about the price they could fix for their paddy and have apparently been selling paddy at a price that is lower than the base price of last year.
The government usually fixes the support price of paddy in mid-November.
The government had resumed fixing support price for paddy from last fiscal, following complaints from farmers that they were being deprived of a reasonable price for their produce. The support price fixed by the government also means that farmers will get a reasonable price for their harvest even if there is a huge drop in farm price. In case the market price of paddy drops below the base rate fixed by the government, the government is liable to purchase paddy from farmers at the support price.
A version of this article appears in print on December 09, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.