MNCs step in, farmers get a windfall
SUPERIORITY OF the shimmering wheat grown on the Narmada banks was never in doubt. But due to lack of proper marketing the wheat could not fetch the price it deserved. Multinationals have changed the rules of the game.india Updated: May 05, 2006 14:31 IST
SUPERIORITY OF the shimmering wheat grown on the Narmada banks was never in doubt. But due to lack of proper marketing the wheat could not fetch the price it deserved. Multinationals have changed the rules of the game.
Farmers in Hoshangabad, Harda and surrounding districts have never had it so good. Multinational companies’ aggressive buying has made wheat in the region dearer by as high as Rs 900 per quintal. And purchase is going on at a brisk pace.
The government procurement centres offering Rs 650 minimum support price with Rs 50 bonus are being ignored by the farmers. Representatives of Cargill India, ITC, Hindustan Levers Limited, AgroTech Foods, Australian Wheat Board and Adani Exports etc are foraying into State mandis with attractive offers to farmers.
The companies are purchasing Sharbati, Durram, Lokvan, WH147 and Sujata 306 varieties from Harda, Itarsi, Pipariya, Vidisha, Hoshangabad, Sehore and Raisen.
Market observers say the companies are buying wheat worth Rs 20 to 25 lakh daily and are likely to buy about three lakh tons.
The buying has made prices of general varieties go up by Rs 50 to Rs 400 per quintal and finer ones by Rs 600 to Rs 900. Cargill India — the biggest trader and exporter of wheat operating in 100-odd countries — is buying all varieties of wheat, both from mandis and directly at farmgate. Similarly Australian Wheat Board— Australia’s leading agribusiness and one of the world’s largest wheat marketing and management companies — is also purchasing quality wheat in Hoshangabad district.
Hoshangabad Collector Faiz Ahmed Kidwai told Hindustan Times that big players like Cargill, ITC, Adani Exports, Olum and Australian Wheat Board are purchasing wheat in 12 locations. Harda Collector D P Ahirwar informed that hectic buying of wheat by Cargill and ITC in the district is going on.
Cargill India, a subsidiary of the multinational company, has established seven ‘Kisan Saathi Kendras’ at Harda, Sodalpur, Silari and Masangaon, Ahirwar said.
Tobacco major ITC, with its Aashirwaad brand atta, is also buying wheat from Hoshangabad and Harda. The company has mobilised its e-chaupal (1500 chaupals in the State) wheat network to buy the crop directly from market. Managing Director of MP State Civil Supplies Corporation G K Shrivastava says, “It is good to see Madhya Pradesh wheat establishing brand at domestic and international market.”
This newfound love of the big companies comes as a boon for the State’s farmers as they are now getting good price for their produce, he added. Aggressive buying, however, has deprived the corporation of achieving its procurement target, he added.
Aggressive buying by MNCs has made wheat dearer by as high as Rs 900 per quintal in Harda, Hoshangabad and neighbouring districts. And purchase is still going on at a brisk pace.