INDIA - The research-based policy advocacy industry body, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) has asked the Uttarakhand state government to allow retails chain to procure agri produce directly from farmers, writes Jagdish Kumar.
The body said that private retail chains such as Reliance Fresh, Tata Hariyali and Safal should be persuaded to open up procurement centres in the Tarai belt of Uttarakhand to directly procure its agricultural produce from farmers of the region, since MANDIS (rural markets) procurements give them virtually no returns.
Government of Uttarakhand should deregulate its agriculture market laws so that both MANDIS procurement of agriculture produce in the region co-exist with the procurement methodology being suggested by the chamber, Saurabh Sanyal, Executive Director, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.
“Exporters, processors and retail chain operators cannot procure directly from the farmers as the produce is required to be channelised through regulated markets and licensed traders.
“There is, in the process, an enormous increase in the cost of marketing and farmers end up getting a low price for their produce. Monopolistic practices and modalities of the state-controlled markets have prevented private investment in the sector. The post-harvest losses of farmers in the region have exceeded 7 per cent in food grains and 30 per cent in case of fruit and vegetables,” Sanyal explained.
In order to provide dynamism and efficiency into the marketing system, large investments are required for the development of post-harvest and cold chain infrastructure nearer to the farmers’ fields.
A major portion of this investment is expected from the private sector, for which an appropriate regulatory and policy environment is necessary, the chamber said.
PHDCCI said that policies need to be put in place to encourage the procurement of agricultural commodities directly from farmers’ fields and to establish effective linkage between the farm production and the retail chain and food processing industries.
Tarai Region of Uttarakhand is one of the most fertile lands not only in the state or the country, but in the world as a whole and the farmers in this region are extremely hard working.
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