The mud-slinging match between the constituents of ruling government in West Bengal over renewal of Metro Cash and Carry’s Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) licence culminates. The Indian arm of German wholesaler Metro AG has been granted APMC licence to sell farm commodities and other food items to hotels, restaurants, provision stores and other institutional buyers in the state.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) outlining the conditions for Metro’s operations was inked between the company officials and the state agriculture marketing board chief Naren Chatterjee.
According to the MoU, Metro would have to pay one per cent transaction fee on every purchase and sale executed by the company. Further, it would not be allowed to do contract farming of any agriculture produce and livestock and every vendor of farm produce would have to be registered with the state marketing department.
The All India Forward Bloc, an ally of the state’s communist government which controls agriculture and agricultural marketing departments in the state, had last month stopped the government from renewing Metro’s licence, insisting on conditions that would prevent Metro from contract farming, which it says will hurt small farmers.
Metro, Germany’s biggest retailer, had planned to invest USD 120 million in at least four new cash-and-carry centres in eastern West Bengal state, doubling the number of its centres in India.