Amid furore over FDI in multi-brand retail, the Haryana government has said its allowing direct purchase of horticulture produce and setting up of primary processing facilities by private players will help farmers gain from foreign investments in the sector.
As part of major reforms in the farm sector, the Haryana government brought amendment in Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961 last month, allowing direct purchase of horticulture commodities including vegetables, fruits and commercial crops from farmers to provide them remunerative prices.
It also gave the nod for setting up primary processing facilities such as sorting, grading, packaging and storage of perishable commodities by private parties including corporates.
"Allowing direct purchase of horticulture crops from farmers and setting up of processing facilities, will set the foundation of FDI in retail," Haryana Agricultural Marketing Board, Chief Administrator, T V S N Prasad told PTI here.
He said that after the amendment of the Act, global retailers like Walmart would now be encouraged to invest in back-end infrastructure in the state, and farmers would get better prices of their products with bulk buying by retailers.
"Big retailers will invest in back-end infrastructure like cold storages, primary processing facilities and other logistics and then buy horticulture produce directly from farmers after paying them higher price," he said, adding that the middlemen would be eliminated.
Under the farming reforms, the state government would identify commodity hubs across Haryana and set up collection centres within 1 km of these hubs to help farmers sell crops at these collection centres.
Private companies or parties will be given licences by the board to operate in these centres. To ensure that farmers are not exploited by the companies, the state government would allow more than one company to operate in these centres, an official said.
The companies would also be allowed to set up primary processing facilities under public private partnership mode which would be useful for farmers to avail them, he said.
Among prominent vegetable and fruits clusters in Haryana are tomatoes at Patana in Karnal, Gharaunda (vegetables) at Karnal, tomatoes at Bhiwani, flowers at Farooq Nagar in Mewat, Kinnow at Abub Shahar in Sirsa.
Haryana has annual vegetable and fruits production of about 43 lakh tonne with area under vegetables and fruits at 3.60 lakh hectares and 41,450 hectares respectively. Haryana contributes 3.01 per cent in country's total horticulture produce and state's area under horticulture is 3.73 per cent of country's total horticulture area.