LUDHIANA: A day after winning Parliament's approval to allowing FDI in retail, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the move will benefit farmers and consumers and help introduce new technologies in agri marketing.
He also said the decision to allow FDI was "supported" by farmers' organisations in Punjab.
Speaking as a chief guest at Punjab Agricultural University's golden jubilee function here, he said FDI in retail will help introduce new technologies in agri marketing, and will "benefit farmers and consumers".
The decision to allow FDI was backed by farmers' organisations in Punjab, he said at the PAU function, where he was honoured with a Doctor of Science degree.
Government had on Friday won the approval of Parliament to its controversial decision of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail with a motion against it being defeated convincingly in Rajya Sabha, as BSP voted in favour of UPA. 123 members had voted against the motion while 109 voted in favour after a debate during which the opposition had attacked the proposal to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, while the government had strongly justified it saying it was in the best interest of the country.
Speaking at the university, Singh asked leading farm varsities like PAU to gear up to meet the existing and future challenges in the agriculture sector.
He said agriculture supply chains in India are fragmented and stressed the need for development of efficient and vertically integrated supply chains.
Stressing that investments in backend infrastructure can help cut down loss of perishable crops, he asked Punjab "to take the lead in best practices of crop management".
Singh also hoped that Punjab will fare better as 12th five-year plan has for the country as a whole "targeted 8.2 growth in the GDP and 4 per cent in agriculture".