Having opposed inflow of foreign capital in retail trade under pressure from alliance partner BJP, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal today advocated wholesale market management for farmers that could eliminate middlemen in the business.
"We need to adopt world's best practices of wholesale market management for the marketing of fruits and vegetables in the state to ensure remunerative returns to the farmers, especially the small and marginal ones," Badal said in his address at an international conference on wholesale markets organised by the Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board here.
Badal said the cooperative system was the best option to facilitate inter-state marketing of fruits and vegetables from Punjab in about 50 major cities across the country having big markets and a population of over one million.
"This system provided better price to small producers by eliminating middlemen and reducing the transport cost," Badal said. He said the "White Revolution" model of Verghese Kurien, who played an exemplary role to make India the world's largest milk producer through its successful cooperative marketing network in India, could be replicated for the vegetables and fruits market.
Badal said efforts were afoot to implement the model in Punjab's urban areas like Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala and Bathinda.
Advocating the need for diversification of crops, Badal pointed out that the contribution of agriculture in the state's income was gradually declining as the farmers were caught in the wheat-paddy rotation trap.