There is no rational reason why the big corporates like Tatas and Birlas and Mittal failed.
Simply because, they had succeeded in other areas like telecom and oil and gas, there is no obvious link with their strategy to enter agriculture.
In fact, it is for the simple naive reason that the next big thing is agriculture, a vast area and therefore, the big cos wanted to enter here also. No rhyme or reason!
So, with all the bravado that comes with one success these corporates ventured into the agri sector. That is all.
Even, where some of the new entrants entered and succeeded, we can see some pattern. The smaller and newer players, be it the food chains or the retail stores as in Chennai and outside, the new department stores, even the fruit vendors or masala makers as in Erode and Chennai, Sakthi and Acchi Masala, we see they are all still small players. Even in other states like as Desai fruits in Gujarat, based in Navasari, which specialises in contract cultivation of banana, its current annual volume is 20,000-30,000 tonnes valued at Rs.50-60 crores and also they export a small quantity of corn and other processed foods, it seems these are all early days.
So too the milk producers and milk food makers. One Amul is not the end of the road. There are other state milk co-ops like KMF in Karnataka.
The point is that it is the SME sector that is ideal as of now.
There is no reason why a new and more pragmatic and also farmer-friendly government policy can’t be worked out. We have got the co-operative sugar industry model in Maharashtra.
We have Amul in Gujarat.
Of course we have so many private sector models in Punjab. Some failed others like the Pepsi vegetables models are working.
We have to study from other countries also. In Thailand there are lots of new developments.
Each country has its own successful agri/horti/milk and dairy development models.
What the failures of the current big players prove is that there must be a vision, a strategy and a policy framework.
In our opinion, the best and first try must be through the co-operative model.
Any farmers organisation must start from co-operative model and must gradually must engaged the private players, preferably the small and state-level players.
It is the big cats, the aggressive bribe-giving and corrupting the media, TV and Print media ads and also the TV anchors and the print media guys who are willing to play the dirty game of lobbyists that need to be exposed.
One big house bribed one and all in the telecom scam, we have seen.
Indian agriculture is a sacred territory for farmers and the poor and the villagers.
We have to fight the unscrupulous from entering the farm sector and play with the fate of helpless victims.
If the government is foolish to be blind to the plight of farmers, let it be dammed.
That is the stern message we like to send them out, there!