New Delhi: Looking to scale up sourcing of agricultural products from India, the world’s largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc Tuesday said its joint venture with the Bharti Group will rope in 35,000 farmers by 2015 to its supply chain.
“We are already making a contribution to India’s agricultural sector by working with a large number of farmers in Punjab. I am pleased to announce that Bharti Wal-Mart would be directly sourcing from 35,000 small and medium farmers by 2015,” Wal-Mart Stores Inc president and CEO Mike T Duke said in Delhi at a function organised by Ficci.
At present, the 50:50 cash and carry joint venture, Bharti Wal-Mart, works with 550 farmers in the country.
Elaborating on how the company aims to help the farmers, Duke said: “We will help them by providing skills and technology for crop managememnt...By doing all these we hope that the farmers will see at least a 20% increase in their income levels.”
He said the company will also be training the farmers on how to utilise usage of water and fertilisers optimally.
“This will benefit one million farmer and farm workers,” Duke added.
Commenting on the need for skill upgradation in the retail sector, Duke said the JV will add a third skills training centre in Bangalore in a couple of months.
Bharti Enterprises vice chairman and managing director, Rajan Bharti Mittal said after the Bangalore centre, another skill centre would be set up at Mohali but did not give a timeline for it.
The Bharti Wal-Mart association currently has two training centres located in Amritsar and Delhi in partnership with the respective state governments.
“The target is to train 40,000 students in the next five years and place at least 15,000 students in the next five years,” Duke said.
Already 3,400 students have already been certified and 1,100 people have been place in jobs, he added.
Commenting on the need for further opening up of India’s retail sector to FDI, Duke said: “We want to open more and more stores here and contribute in the training and we do stand ready to contribute much more than what we are doing right now if FDI is opened in retail.”
He said Wal-Mart has been encouraged by the government’s positive approach, specially the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) paper that came out in June this year.
An inter-ministerial committee is currently evaluating the comments of stakeholders on the paper on opening up the politically-sensitive multi-brand retail sector to foreign direct investment (FDI).