FDI in retail: Anand Sharma holds talks with farmers' body

S. Arun New Delhi | Updated on December 22, 2011 Published on December 22, 2011

The Government took forward its stakeholder consultations on allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail with the Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister Mr Anand Sharma holding talks with the Secretary-General of Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations (CIFA), Mr P. Chengal Reddy, on Thursday.

Mr Reddy backed the Union Cabinet's decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail saying, “FDI in retail will free farmers from the middleman and will get remunerative price for the produce.” He asked the Minister to ensure procurement efficiencies that will get farmers good price for their labour.

Mr Sharma agreed to look into a suggestion for a farmers' advisory body for the Commerce and Industry Ministry to incorporate the views of the farmers on a systematic basis.

Mr Reddy also informed about the CIFA's efforts to engage the state governments on the issue of FDI in retail. “Many States are reconsidering their opinion as we have explained to them various details because of which FDI will help the small farmers in the long run as it builds competitiveness,” he claimed.

Mr Sharma said that the Government is undertaking widespread consultation and has already held talks with small and medium enterprises and the food processing industry following the announcement in Parliament regarding FDI in multi-brand retail.

Mr Sharma said the policy has a distinct Indian imprint that safeguards local farmers and SMEs. “As supply chain efficiencies are built up, post-harvest losses will be considerably reduced, thereby enabling remunerative prices to farmers” he said.

The safeguards pertaining to a minimum of 30 per cent procurement from Indian small industries would provide the necessary scales for these entities to expand capacities in manufacturing thereby creating more employment and also strengthening the manufacturing base of the country, he said.

Rural economy will benefit as large-scale investment in the retail sector especially in backend infrastructure will provide substantive gainful employment opportunities in the entire range of activities from the backend to the frontend retail business, the Minister added.

Published on December 22, 2011
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