Doubling farmers income: Centre mulls 10% discount on seed prices
After giving farm loan interest relief, the Centre has initiated a proposal to provide 10 per cent discount on the maximum retail price of seed packets. According to sources in government, the move is aimed at reducing the input cost and increasing farm income of farmers.
The Agriculture Ministry has called a meeting of all major seed companies to finalise the formalities on Friday in this regard. "As doubling the farmers' income is the topmost priority of the government which is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the 10 per cent discount proposal is not such a big amount that profit-making seed companies would not like to contribute in the larger interest of poor farmers," the sources said.
According to the sources, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh would make an appeal to all seed companies to consider 10 per cent discount proposal as the objective of the move is to motivate farmers to buy new seeds at affordable prices. "If a packet of seed is available in the market at Rs 100, after the said discount it would be available to farmers at Rs 90. The plan is to bring all type of seeds under the price discount ambit," the sources said.
The importance of the proposed meeting could be understood with the fact that the Agriculture Minister cancelled his China visit to bring all stakeholders on the board on price discount matter. Singh was supposed to travel China on Thursday for his pre-scheduled two-day visit.
According to sources, at the meeting officials of all leading seed companies, including Monsanto, Nuziveedu, Ankur, etc would be present to take the final call on the proposal. Commenting on the meeting, National Seed Association of India's (NSAI) president Prabhakar Rao said, "Yes, I'm going in the meeting, but won't be able to share the agenda of the meet."
When asked about government's plan to offer discount on seed prices, Rao, "I'm not aware about it and if there is any such proposal, let me first understand the proposal and then only make my comments on it." However, Rao said that the NSAI is in favour of increasing the income of farmers.
According to market experts, the seed companies offers a margin of about 20-30 per cent to their retailers and when the 10 per cent discount offer would be implemented, the firms may share the 'discount burden' among their retailers and the companies.