Can retail and futures help rural incomes

<Published in Business Line>

There has been some debate about the benefits of organised retail on local vendors and farm incomes. Procurement efforts by organised retailers are touted to benefit farmers by getting them better prices for their produce. It was recently reported that a major retail player is offering twice the going rate for procuring cereals.

Some interim studies and arguments presented before the Dr Abhijit Sen Committee suggest that futures do not create inflation or price volatilities. By implication, it has been argued, they should not harm farmers and, hence, be allowed to resume. The impact of these on the various interest groups affected has to be carefully studied before one can be sure about their impact. First, retail.

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