Bharti Wal-Mart has initiated a development programme with the farmers of Punjab, which could well turn out to be the precursor to contract farming in the country.
The programme will help farmers grow high-quality vegetables and fruits with assistance from the company at each stage of cultivation. The company also coaches farmers on post-harvest technology after which the farmers sell their produce to the retail company.
“Our associates engage with the farmers at every stage of cultivation,” the Bharti Wal-Mart spokesperson told Hindustan Times. “We also help the farmers with post-harvest practices and help them reduce wastage and improve quality.”
Is this the beginning of contract farming? “Fruits and vegetables are believed to be a key footfall driver in retail stores and large retailers would eventually resort to contract farming to secure availability and consistency in quality and price,” the spokesperson said.
The company said it has launched a pilot programme with 65 farmers in Punjab. “The farmers currently supply 16 vegetables to the stores on a daily basis.”
Bharti Wal-Mart says it is trying to build an efficient supply chain as the current system of mandis is inefficient. “The inefficiency is evident by more than 100 per cent price build up between farmer and consumer,” the company spokesperson said. “It is not just about negotiating better prices with the suppliers, than removing any inefficiency in the supply chain.”