In general, “minimum support" can be defined as follows:

In economics, a price support may be either a subsidy or a price control, both with the intended effect of keeping the market price of a good higher than the competitive equilibrium level.  In the case of a price control, a price support is the minimum legal price a seller may charge, typically placed above equilibrium. It is the support of certain price levels at or above market values by the government.  A price support scheme can also be an agreement set in order by the government, where the government agrees to purchase the surplus of at a minimum price. For example, if a price floor were set in place for agricultural wheat commodities, the government would be forced to purchase the resulting surplus from the wheat farmers (thereby subsidizing the farmers) and store or otherwise dispose of it.

The following is in regard to cotton and some other textiles from India:

Minimum Support Price (MSP) is a form of market intervention by the Government of India to insure agricultural producers against any sharp fall in farm prices.

Assurance of a remunerative and stable price environment for growers/farmers is very important for increasing agricultural production and productivity. The market price for agricultural produce many times tends to be unstable and volatile which may result into undue losses to the growers and discourage adoption of the modern technology and required inputs.

The Government’s price policy for agricultural commodities seeks to ensure remunerative prices to the growers for their produce with a view to encourage higher investment and production and to safeguard the interest of consumers by making available supplies at reasonable prices with low cost of intermediation. The price policy also seeks to evolve a balanced and integrated price structure in the perspective of the overall needs of the economy.

Towards this end, the Government of India announces, Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for 25 major agricultural commodities each year in both the Crop seasons after taking into account the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

Minimum Support Price (by year) provided by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Department of Agricultural and Cooperation (India)

More helpful information at the following:

http://farmer.gov.in/mspstatements.html

http://cotcorp.gov.in/msp.aspx

You may also want to learn about Price Support Scheme (PSS) at  http://agricoop.nic.in/imagedefault/cooperation/pssguidelines.pdf

You may find the following resources of interest:

 



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