Ranchi farmers welcome
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Ranchi farmers welcome retail food chains
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Ranchi farmers welcome retail food chains

Farmers in Jharkhand capital Ranchi today welcomed the entry of big industrial houses in retail food chains, saying they would no longer be at the mercy of middlemen.

Ranchi (Jharkhand), May 18, : Farmers in Jharkhand capital Ranchi today welcomed the entry of big industrial houses in retail food chains, saying they would no longer be at the mercy of middlemen.

Vegetable farmers in Ranchi, which witnessed violent protests against opening of food chains by Reliance Industries Ltd. last week, said they have a better deal with the corporate chains.

"We were fed-up with the middlemen. Earlier, we had to take our vegetables to the middlemen who used to pay us a very low cost. But, we were compelled to sell to them in absence of an alternative, they had monopolized the business. Now, we have an option with Reliance who are paying us better prices," said Deleshwar Sahu, a farmer.

Last week, street vendors attacked three stores owned by Reliance Industries in Ranchi, injuring over a dozen people.

It was one of the most serious cases of unrest linked to the entry of large, glitzy retail chains into the country's fragmented 200 billion dollars food and grocery sector, which small shop owners see as a threat to their business.

The street vendors were agitated because Reliance outlets are selling vegetables at prices, much lower than the prevailing market price, driving away their customers.

"We have benefited a lot from the entry of big retail chains. Firstly, we save our time. Earlier we had to reach the market by nine at any cost and if we got delayed, the middlemen used to pay us much lower cost for the same vegetables. But since Reliance has entered the market, there is no time limit. We deliver vegetables according to our convenience," said Laldeo, another vegetable farmer.

Reliance Retail Ltd., a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, is investing 5.6 billion dollars in hundreds of stores throughout the country.

Reliance has opened two stores in the city, where farmers are able to sell their produce directly.

Since it launched its retail operations last year, Reliance has more than 90 fresh vegetable and food stores. It expects to start opening hyper-markets in the next few months.

Other big national firms as well as the foreign players like Britain's Tesco and Wal-Mart are planning to enter the fast growing retail food sector.

ANI

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