RAICHUR: In the first big transaction between a large corporate entity and farmers since the promulgation of the amended APMC Act in Karnataka, Reliance Retail Ltd has closed a deal for the purchase of 1,000 quintals of Sona Masoori paddy from the farmers of Sindhanur taluk in Raichur district.
Around a fortnight ago, agents registered with Reliance signed an agreement with Swasthya Farmers Producing Company (SFPC). Though SFPC primarily trades in oil, the firm now has ventured into procurement and sale of paddy; close to 1,100 paddy farmers have registered with it. Reliance Retail stipulated that there should be less than 16% moisture in the crop. Moreover, the company is offering Rs 1,950 per quintal of Sona Masoori, which is Rs 82 more than the minimum support price (MSP) for the crop set by the government (Rs 1,868).
The understanding between SFPC and the farmers entitles the former to a 1.5% commission for every Rs 100 transaction. The farmers have to bear the expenses of the sacks used to pack the crop and transporting it to the warehouse in Sindhanur.
SFPC managing director Mallikarjun Valkaldinni said that the quality of the paddy currently stored at the warehouse will be tested by a third party. “Once the quality is found to be satisfactory, Reliance’s agents will procure the crop. Currently, there are 500 quintals of paddy stored in the warehouse. We are expecting the purchase to go through anytime now. Once they have procured the crop, Reliance will transfer the money to SFPC online and we will credit the money directly to the farmers’ accounts,” he said.
In order to ensure that the crops are not tampered with at any stage, vehicles used for transporting paddy will be tracked using GPS, he said. However, not everyone is enthused about the development. President of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sense Chamarasa Malipatil said corporate entities would entice the farmers by offering more than the MSP initially, whi-ch would deal a severe blow to the APMC mandis. “But later, corporate companies will start exploiting the farmers. We must be wary of such tactics,” he said.