New MP agri scheme to support entrepreneurial pursuits of farmers' children

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After the failure of mega food parks, the Madhya Pradesh (MP) government on Monday came out with a scheme to help farmers in setting up processing plants for agriculture including onion, tomato and soybean.

The children and dependents of farmers will get loans up to Rs 25 lakh to set up the servicing centres for making paste and puree, besides fruits and vegetable dehydration plants and modern jaggery plants, the Indian Express reported.

Under the scheme, 50% subsidy will be given to general category beneficiaries and 50% to children belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Krishi cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, approved the scheme. 

Last year, around 73% of the one million quintals of onions purchased by the MP government from farmers was destroyed owing to inadequate storage space.

Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Rajesh Rajora said in the next three years, their target is to set up 1,000 such centres. Moreover, the loan amount could be raised to Rs 40 lakh in the future. 

Children who are above 18 and have cleared Class X examination will be eligible for the scheme.

Other farmers’ schemes to aid farmers

The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet, last Tuesday, approved Mukhyamantri Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana (CM's Price Deficit Financing Scheme) to compensate farmers if the market price of a crop falls below its minimum support price (MSP). 

However, since the scheme doesn’t cover horticulture farmers.

The compensation will be transferred into the farmers’ bank accounts directly after verification of mandi receipts. However, the compensation won’t exceed the modal price. 

The modal price will be the average market prices for a particular commodity over a two-month period in Madhya Pradesh and two other states where the crop is grown and traded.

Farmers will have to register their crops at village-level cooperative societies along with their Aadhaar and bank account numbers. Enrolments will open from September 11 for a month.

In June, several parts of Madhya Pradesh saw large-scale agitation from farmers due to a sudden and sharp drop in prices of several commodities, particularly onions and pulses. 

In 2015, a pilot project of deficiency price payment for cotton growers was started in Hinganghat taluka of Maharashtra. It was called the Direct Payment Deficiency System (DPDS). Under this, farmers were to get the difference between the MSP and market price should the market price fall below the MSP, directly in their bank accounts. The plan to roll out the scheme in other parts of the country couldn’t materialise, as the pilot didn’t show encouraging results.

In 2009-10, a scheme of deficiency price payment for betel nut (supari) farmers was started in Goa’s Ponda. Under this, the state government decided the base price of Rs 100 a kg, and if a farmer sold the betel nuts below the base price, it paid them the difference.