New Delhi: Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday welcomed foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, saying it will help in providing good prices to farmers and better choice and low prices to consumers.

"This (FDI) should benefit all stakeholders across the entire value and supply chain," Pawar said addressing the Economic Editor's conference here.

The minister added that FDI will be beneficial for both farmers and consumers.

"Farmers will gain on at least two counts: significant reduction in post-harvest losses, and better prices. Consumers will gain from lower prices, greater choice, and higher quality," the minister noted.

Pawar added that the investment will help in developing the farm sector.

"Recognising the need to step up investment in the agriculture sector, FDI is welcome for development of seed, post harvest management infrastructure and now in multi-brand retail trading (MBRT), subject to setting up the back-end infrastructure," he said.

Pawar had earlier also supported the government's decision of allowing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail saying that it will boost investment in cold-chain facilities and bring down post-harvest losses.

"Post harvest losses in the country are high. There are losses in the entire supply chain from farm to market. Investment in cold chains is required. More investment to set up such facilities will come with the entry of FDI. This will benefit both farmers and consumers," he has said.

The decision of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail had led to Trinamool Congress walking out of the UPA Government. It has also evoked sharp reactions from its allies including Samajwadi Party and JD-S as well as opposition parties.


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