Agriculture Current Affair 6 June 2020

Spinning mills to face heat of higher cotton MSP

Spinning mills are expected to take a severe hit with the government raising the minimum support price of cotton.

The development comes when spinning mills are facing multiple challenges including fall in demand for fabrics and garments both in domestic and international markets due to the Covid pandemic.

However, higher MSP will benefit farmers to increase the coverage in the forthcoming kharif season starting October.

MP govt’s dangerous move: Chana purchases with toxic khesar admixture

The Madhya Pradesh government deserves to be complimented for supporting pulse growers by deciding to buy chana (gram or chickpea) at the minimum support price (MSP) of ₹4,875 a quintal. While the country recently harvested a record 109 lakh tonnes of chana, farm-gate prices have remained depressed below the MSP (by about 20 per cent) at ₹4,000 a quintal.

However, the State government has embarked on a dangerous course by permitting purchase of chana with 2 per cent khesar (botanical name: lathyrus sativus, also known as ‘grass pea’), a legume long suspected to be toxic. This purchase policy — chana mixed with khesar — can potentially lead to serious health consequences over time. The Centre has permitted the admixture, according to press reports.

Firming up of prices, a sharp rise in cash-based sales impact the farm-input market

Firming up of prices of pesticides by 5 to 10 per cent; unusually high demand for fertilizers; sharp rise in cash-based sales of both fertilizer and pesticide, replacing credit – Covid-19 and lockdown left a series of impact on India’s farm-input market in April-May, ahead of the Kharif season.

There is disagreement as to what led to a rise in cash sales, benefiting companies; but evidence of “panic buying” cannot be ruled out.

Normally, credit takes a lead role in farm input trade. It flows from companies to the retailer via a distributor or dealership network. The collection starts with sowing (July for Kharif) when the farmer finally lifts the products. The trade channel is generally common for both fertiliser and pesticide.

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