AP: Ajit Singh favours corp retail chains for farmers

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Hyderabad, Nov 7: Rashtriya Lok Dal President and Former Union Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh on Friday, Nov 7 strongly favoured corporate retail chains marketing agro-products for farmers to get a better price for their produce.

Addressing a national seminar on ''Marketing and Warehousing Facilities for Agriculture Produce'' here, he said farmers were not getting remunerative price for their produce mainly because there ''were too many marketing intermediaries.'' ''If corporate retail stores are promoted in a big way, farmers will definitely get a better price for their produce,'' he felt.

He lamented that both the Union and State Governments had practically withdrawn from ''agriculture extension service'' and as a result there was no proper transfer of technology from lab to land.

Potato growers in Uttar Pradesh continued to grow traditional varieties which were more sweet and not hybrid varieties suited for making ''French fries'' much in demand in cities.

Claiming the Centre's loan waiver scheme had not at all addressed the problem of high incidence of suicide among farmers, he alleged the UPA Government had only ''enabled banks to clean up their balance sheets.'' A majority of the farmers were still dependent on private money lenders for their credit needs, he pointed out, adding that it would have been better had the government took responsibility to pay back at least part of the peasants' loans from private money lenders.

Karnataka Agriculture University Vice-Chancellor P G Chengappa stressed the need for creation of a foodchain starting from the farmgate to retail outlet.

Farmers were suffering a loss of over Rs 50,000 crore due to market inefficiancy with the presence of too many middlemen who added no value to the farmers produce, he claimed.

UNI

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