May 14, 2022 1:10:59 am
Rising food inflation has ushered in “acche din” for farmers as it has helped to increase their incomes, said RS Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), Friday.
“Food inflation is taken as a negative point. I agree that the increase in prices of food items adversely affects the common man. The affordability goes down. But let me tell you, food inflation increases farmers’ income. If the prices of milk have gone up by 9 per cent in the last two years, the income of the farmer (selling milk) has increased by 9 per cent. The prices of other items such as fruits and vegetables and pulses and edible oil have increased by 40-50 per cent. Wheat has also risen by 20-25 per cent. So, if you pay more for food, more money is going into rural India,” said Sodhi speaking on the topic of “Amul @100” at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).
In the 2021-22 fiscal, GCMMF had twice increased the prices of milk. The prices were raised by Rs 2 per litre each first in June, 2021 and then in February this year.
With more money going into rural India, the disparity between urban and rural incomes has also eased slightly, Sodhi further said. “Even now, the average rural family income versus the urban has a 1:5 ratio,” said the official who heads a body comprising 36 lakh milk producing farmers, and sells milk and milk products under the brand ‘Amul’.
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According to the GCMMF MD, high food inflation will trigger an increase in wages. “If wages increase, there will be pressure on the industry as bottom-lines will reduce. But let me tell you… the “acche din” for farmers has come. His income is rising,” he said addressing the local businessmen and students.
Sodhi said that dairy farmers within the Amul network in Gujarat can easily earn between Rs 80,000-1,00,000 per month. “There are hundreds of illiterate and semi-literate women in Gujarat who are earning Rs 80 lakh to Rs one crore per annum,” he said, adding that milk production was a sector where farmers’ remuneration never decreases.
“By 2047, Amul will have a minimum turnover of Rs 18 lakh crore. When I joined Amul in 1982, the turnover was Rs 121 crore and we were collecting about 13 lakh litres of milk. Today, the turnover is Rs 61,000 crore and milk collection is at 280 lakh litres. Even by conservative estimates, the farmers of Gujarat (members of GCMMF) who are number one in India, will own the biggest food company in the world in the next 25 years,” he said, adding Amul was already the eighth largest company in the world.
Sodhi said that in the next 25 years, India will account for 48 per cent of the world’s milk production. Talking about the challenges, he said increasing per animal milk productivity, motivating the next generation to take up animal husbandry and improving the progeny were the hurdles that needed to be tackled.
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