Amid a raging debate over the benefits of 51% FDI in multi-brand retail for growers, farmers in Punjab have proposed to foray into the vegetable retail business by launching their own retail operations to fetch remunerative returns.
A clutch of farmers have stepped on cooperative movement by setting up a Global Healthy Vegetables Marketing Cooperative Society, which would undertake vegetable farming through net house cultivation technology on large scale in certain pockets and carry out retailing of produce.
“Our main motive of setting up the society is to put more money into the hands of farmers and offer quality produce to consumers at cheaper rates,” said J S Sangha, MD, Global Healthy Vegetables Marketing Cooperative Society. “And it is possible by eliminating intermediaries in supply chain.”
In first of its type in Punjab, the society has been set up with a seed capital of R10 lakh each by 10 farmers.
Currently, the society is examining three retail options to find out which is the best one. “We are discussing whether we open our own outlets or put hawkers or carts into service,” said Sangha. “We are also in talks with Indian Oil for starting our retail at its fuel outlets.”
In the initial phase, the society would start its retail service at Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Chandigarh. “In second phase we will look at whole Punjab and Delhi for selling our crop,” Sangha said.
According to society, farmers could earn Rs 1 lakh per acre from growing and retailing vegetables against income of Rs 20,000-25,000 per acre from traditional crops like paddy, wheat.