Selvamani, a farmer whose family owns 30 acres (one acre is 0.4 hectare) and has been selling both to Reliance and in the auction market at Kozhinjampara, told Frontline: “On an average, we get at least Rs.2 a kg more for every commodity if we give it to Reliance rather than at the wholesale market. At the local market, as elsewhere, we have to pay a 10 per cent commission to agents in addition to the loading and unloading charges. Their weighing machines are almost always inaccurate. This is why a lot of farmers here prefer to sell to Reliance.”Higher prices! Much more than what the government's Public Distribution System (PDS) will give farmers. Reliance FRESH also offers:
...electronic weighing, on-the-spot cash payment, extension services and, importantly, an assured market for their produce.What does the government offer? Indifference and lamentation about high food prices; and blaming neo-liberalism as the main culprit seems to be the official preoccupation.
As I see it, the only way to reduce the cost of food, for the short-term, is to keep the cost of production and transportation low. And only efficient, mechanized organizations, combined with economies of scale, can accomplish this: they are mostly agro-businesses and retail chains like Reliance FRESH. And given the soaring cost of food, the Left (as they are the key players in this 'anti-Walt-Martian' drama) seems keen on keeping them high. I guess they hate the poor.