Counter protests and take on board middlemen and brokers — Sahay tells retailers

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There was good news for retailers as Minister for Food Processing, Subodh Kant Sahay, Friday came out strongly in their support suggesting that they take on board middlemen and brokers as part of their retail supply chain management to increase farmers’ bargaining power to counter protests in Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.

Addressing a seminar on “Agri Biotechnology’’ in the capital organised by ASSOCHAM, Sahay said he had already mooted this proposal to retailers like Reliance and Subhiksha so that 70 per cent of farmers interests are protected.

The minister said those opposing setting up of retail chains in Uttar Pradesh and Kerala were doing so for only securing political mileage.

“I am going to ask the two states to let middlemen and brokers be part of the entire supply value chain for retail movement as it will make it demand-driven, in which farmers would gain a great deal,’’ he said.

The minister said retail movement will generate demand and create employment while enhancing bargaining power of farmers, and there is no point that retailers should be asked to stop their operations in Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.

Sahay regretted that over Rs 40,000 crore of agriculture and horticulture produce is being wasted, while value addition in it through food processing can generate revenues to the extent of over Rs 100,000 crore and enable agri sector to contribute one per cent to national GDP.

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