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Wal-Mart to engage 35K farmers by 2015

Making a strong case for allowing FDI in multi- brand retail Wal-Mart Stores Inc prez and CEO says the company will rope in 35,000 farmers by 2015 in India.

Mail Today Bureau   New Delhi     Last Updated: October 27, 2010  | 09:07 IST

Making a strong case for allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi- brand retail in India, Wal- Mart Stores Inc president and chief executive officer (CEO) Mike T. Duke said that the company will rope in 35,000 farmers by 2015.

"We are already working with a large number of farmers.

We will be directly purchasing from 35,000 small and medium farmers by the end of 2015," Duke said at a function organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

The main purpose of Duke's India visit was to meet policy makers in the capital to push for opening the retail sector for foreign investment in the backdrop of an ongoing debate among various stakeholders.

He met commerce minister Anand Sharma on Monday to discuss the issue.

"We do understand the Indian government's calibrated approach in retail," he said.

"The talk was very encouraging.

We are very happy with the progress on the policy front," Duke said.

Currently, Bharti Wal- Mart, the 50: 50 cash and carry joint venture (JV) between Bharti Retail and Wal- Mart works with 550 farmers in the country.

"We will help them by providing skills and technology for crop management. By doing all these we hope that the farmers will see at least a 20 per cent increase in their income levels," Duke said.

Duke added that the company will also be training the farmers on the optimum usage of water and fertilisers, which will benefit one million farmers and farm workers.

He also said that the JV will 'Foreign funds in retail will set up two skill training centres - one in Bangalore followed by another in Mohali.

"Our target is to train 40,000 students in the next five years and will place at least 15,000 students in the next five years," Duke said.

The Bharti Wal-Mart Association currently has two training centres located in Amritsar and Delhi in partnership with the state governments.

Already 3,400 students have been certified and 1,100 placed in jobs, he added.

Arguing in support of allowing foreign investment in retail Duke said, " I believe that retail foreign investment will go a long way in reducing food inflation in India by 50- 70 basis points - by reducing waste and improving efficiency of the business model through supply chain management." " This is important so that we can contribute much more by way of infusion of capital, accelerate the opening of more retail stores and bring in overall efficiency in supply chain management," Duke said.

Courtesy: Mail Today 

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