New Delhi: Many farmers of Gujarat and Haryana have been working with multi-national companies for years. CNN-IBN travelled to the two states tracking reactions on FDI in retail. The farmers in the two states seem to be seeing it as a welcome step.
Farmer Satish Singh no longer has the stress of dealing with middlemen to sell his vegetables at the local mandi. He and 150 other farmers from Bakhtawarpur supply directly to Bharti Walmart, who even provides a mini truck to transport the produce. He says that at the collection centre, payments are prompt. "If you sell vegetables to the mandi, you can't be assured of the price. Bharti Walmart provides fixed rates and payment comes on time," Satish said.
Amar Jyoti also deals with Bharti Walmart. An assured price and a big drop in wastage has allowed Amar to save up and buy a tractor. "Even if they buy from us at the same rate as the mandi, it saves us additional costs that we have to undergo at mandis," he said.
Bharti Walmart MD and CEO Raj Jain says kirana store owners are also happy working with them. "Through our cash and carry model, we will continue to bring this efficiency to kirana stores also. Today we have 18 cash and carry stores and you can ask any kirana store owner how happy they are working with us," he said.
Farmer Parthi Chaudhary in Gujarat is equally satisfied. Growing potatoes for multinational food processor McCain Foods since 2004, he says, has been profitable. Technical expertise for McCain has even helped him double his yield. "With McCain's guidance we get double the yield, it's basically a win-win situation for farmers," he said.
Devendra Kumar, GM - Agriculture, McCain Foods (India ) Pvt Ltd, said, "More and more farmers are growing potatoes for McCain nowadays. At present there are over 1,000 farmers growing for us and this number is increasing rapidly."
Ironically, although Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has termed the central government move on FDI as anti-farmer, potato growers in Banaskantha continue to enjoy a very profitable business with multi-nationals through contract farming.