Chandigarh: Even as the Centre is yet to announce MSP for various kharif crops, Punjab, a major rice producing state, has sought over Rs 500 increase in MSP of paddy for 2012-13 season, citing substantial increase in labour and fertiliser cost.

Punjab, which contributes over 30 percent rice into central pool, has demanded paddy Minimum Support Price (MSP) for common variety at Rs 1,600 per quintal and for grade-A variety at Rs 1,665 a quintal for the year 2012-13 season, official sources said here.

Besides, the state government has also included 25-30 percent of total cost as profit while demanding hike in MSP for paddy.

MSP for common paddy variety stands at Rs 1,080 per quintal and grade-A variety at Rs 1,110 per quintal for 2011-12 season.

The Union Agriculture ministry has proposed paddy MSP of Rs 1,250 per quintal for common variety and Rs 1,280 quintal for grade-A variety for 2012-13 season.

The Punjab government pitched for substantial hike in paddy MSP in the wake of hefty increase in input cost for paddy transplantation in the state.

"The input cost for paddy crop has grown manifold in the state particularly in view of acute labour shortage being faced by the state for paddy sowing for the last several years.

Moreover, fertiliser cost especially of DAP after decontrol has gone up considerably, resulting into increase in input cost for farmers," Punjab State Farmers' Commission, Economist, P S Rangi said here.

Ruling party in Punjab Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had already rejected the proposed hike of Rs 170 a quintal in paddy MSP and decided to take up this matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Farm experts have also demanded that the Centre should announce paddy MSP before the start of its sowing so that farmers should know whether they should go for this crop or not. Sowing of paddy in Punjab starts from June 10.

Apart from this, Punjab has also sought a significant hike in MSP for cotton at Rs 4,420 per quintal against Rs 3,300 per quintal for the last season.

For moong crop, Punjab has asked for Rs 4,600 per quintal as MSP compared to Rs 3,400 per quintal for the last season.

The state has sought MSP for maize, which is another major crop in Punjab, at Rs 1,500 per quintal against Rs 980 a quintal in previous season.

(Agencies)

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