NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has raised the minimum purchase price for soybeans to 3,050 rupees ($47.31) per 100 kg from 2,775 rupees, trade sources told Reuters, as the government seeks to protect farmers from falling market prices.
The South Asian nation is carrying a huge inventory from last year's record harvest, compounding the woes of millions of debt-ridden farmers who are struggling with low prices amid a glut of produce such as lentils, oilseeds and cereals.
Unrest has flared in states ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), catching regional leaders flat-footed and providing a reality check on Modi's promise to double farmers' incomes over the next five years.
Five Indian farmers were shot dead this month at a protest in the central state of Madhya Pradesh as a rural strike to demand debt relief spread in the wake of rising farmer suicides.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said buying agricultural commodities below the minimum purchase price from farmers would attract prosecution, local newspapers quoted him as saying.
The price of front-month soybean futures fell to a more than 5-year low on the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange earlier this month.
The agriculture ministry's office, which has not yet officially announced the rise in the minimum purchase price, was not immediately available for comment.
($1 = 64.4750 Indian rupees)
Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in MUMBAI and Sudarshan Varadhan in NEW DELHI; Editing by Douglas Busvine and David Evans