FDI in multi-brand retail to spice up the food chain
The farm sector grew at a dismal 1.2 per cent in the second quarter of the fiscal as poor rains impacted crops. But experts have time and again warned that boosting agriculture productivity to at least 4 per cent annually is essential to increase supply of not only essential food grains but also proteins, fruits and vegetables. States must relax the stringent Agricultural Produce Marketing Control Act to ensure that farmers are able to get better prices and have an incentive to produce more. While many states have already initiated this, others need to follow suit with international retail chains set to enter the country.
A key suggestion of the Prime Ministerís Economic Advisory Council to extend contract farming, currently used for sugar and milk, to more commodities. Investments are needed to set up an extensive network of cold chains and warehousing facilities for perishable agriculture produce.
Defying Opposition and allies alike, the UPA managed to finally permit up to 51 per cent
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