Walmart wants to source agri commodities from AP farmers: Govt

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Hyderabad, Apr 22: Retail giant Walmart wants to collaborate with Andhra Pradesh Government for sourcing agriculture commodities from local farmers, increasing productivity and capacity building in the agriculture sector.

Walmart International's President and CEO David Cheesewright conveyed this when he called on Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today, a state government release said.

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In this context, a task force including Walmart India executives and Special Chief Secretary to Government (Agriculture) Vijay Kumar has been constituted.

"We can review the decisions and action plan once in three months and evaluate our progress," the chief minister was quoted as saying. Naidu was informed that the company is currently sourcing cashew nuts, red chillies, coconuts and sweet lime from the state.

Stating that Andhra Pradesh has the "highest production" of rice and spices, the CM suggested that Walmart could work with the agriculture and horticulture department officials on identifying additional agriculture commodities, vegetables and fruits which can be sourced from the state.

"An action-plan can be prepared with targets," he added. Cheesewright said Walmart Foundation is interested in working with the government on CSR activities such as training women from Self-help Groups (SHGs) in various skills, the statement said.

"You can work with us on adopting villages on 'smart village-smart ward' programmes," the chief minister said.

Meanwhile, Naidu also assured the Walmart CEO that the state would extend support for cold-chain linkages and in bridging supply gaps. He sought Walmart's technology and marketing expertise in improving productivity.

"You can make Andhra Pradesh a global sourcing hub for certain agri commodities," the chief minister said, adding they could also source fruits from Ananthapur, which has the potential to become a horticulture hub.

PTI

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