A non-resident Indian (NRI) group plans to bring changes in food supply infrastructure and provide better quality food to weaker sections…“We will set up, on public-private partnership model, one food processing plant in each of the 671 districts of the country and create a nationwide chain of ‘Farm to Consumer shop’ through a special purpose vehicle (SPV). With this, we will be able to ensure better quality of food for needy,” said a group spokesperson…
A US-based group of non-resident Indian (NRI) farmers are planning to invest around $3 billion (Rs 18,720 crore at current exchange rate) in India for agro-processing and improving food supply. The NRI farmers, led by the Indo-American Farmers’ Coalition (IAFC), an organisation founded by Mahesh Patel, aim to bring radical changes in the food supply infrastructure and provide better quality of food to the weaker sections of society. “We will set up, on public-private partnership model, one food processing plant in each of the 671 districts of the country and create a nationwide chain of ‘Farm to Consumer shop’ through a special purpose vehicle (SPV). With this, we will be able to ensure better quality of food for needy,” Patel said at a press conference recently.
Interestingly, the NRI farmers were wearing Aam Admi Party-like caps at the press conference to strike a chord with India’s common men. The SPV, subsequently, will sign a ‘Crop Development Contract’ with the local farmers’ crop development cooperative spread across 6.3 lakh villages of India. According to Patel, the contract signed with farmers will provide for procurement of agriculture produce from the farmers at a pre-determined rate and offering the producers share in profit earned through value addition made in the produces.
“We plan to price a pack of five wheat chapatis at Rs 2. We have called it “Aam Aadmi Roti”. We believe that when a lot of grains rot every year in India, such an initiative will ensure better use of grain and feed the needy,” Patel said. “Currently, the Aam Aadmi fervor persists in India, so we thought of associating the roti with the name. However, apart from that we do not have any other political connection to endorse,” he quipped. Patel also wrote a letter to Dr C Rangarajan, advisor to the Prime Minister’s economic advisory council, seeking his views on the model.
“We are also meeting the Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi in this regard so that he can implement the project at least in Gujarat,” said Patel. The organisation is seeking Government support to get approvals for imports of machinery, relaxation in taxation etc.
The organisation is making all efforts to garner support for the cause from their fellow NRIs in the US. “There are around 1,25,000 NRI farmers in the US. So far we have approached about 1500 of them. We expect many more to support us for this cause,” he said.
– The Hindu Businessline