FDI ensures better price for producers, says Pawar

The government on Tuesday said that inflow of overseas capital would help growers get better prices for their produces and cut down losses.

Underlining the need to boost investment in the farm sector, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said that the Government would welcome FDI in development of seed and post-harvest infrastructure as well as in multi-brand retail trading, subject to setting up the back-end infrastructure.

“This (FDI) should benefit all stakeholders across the entire value and supply chain. Farmers will gain on at least two counts: significant reduction in post-harvest losses and better prices,” he said, while addressing the Economic Editors’ Conference here.

The Government had earlier pegged the post-harvest loss of foodgrains at 40 per cent of total production, seeking to build a case for allowing FDI in retail to help build back-end infrastructure.

Agriculture Minister’s remark came on a day the Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said that although her party was not in favour of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail at present, it would support the UPA Government’s decision to open up the sector if foreign capital inflow helped the farmers.

After Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress pulled out from the UPA, the Congress-led coalition Government is dependent on the support from the BSP and Samajwadi Party for its survival.

Mayawati is likely to take a call on Wednesday on continuation of her party’s support to the UPA Government. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav said that the party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav would decide whether it should respond to Banerjee’s call to all UPA constituents and allies to quit the ruling coalition.

The NCP and National Conference are the only major allies of the Congress to support the Government on the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail. The Dravida Munnethra Kazhagam has reservations over the move, but has not yet taken a belligerent posture against the Congress-led Government at the Centre.

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