'Cooperatives should explore new areas to double farm income'
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked cooperatives to venture into new business areas like beekeeping and seaweed farming to help farmers double their income by 2022 and boost the rural economy.
Modi also emphasised that the 'cooperative spirit' should be kept alive and strengthened.
Addressing the birth centenary of Maharashtra-based cooperative leader Laxman Madhav Rao Inamdar, the Prime Minister said: "It is natural for the cooperative sector to grow and shine in India. There are several sectors where the cooperative sector can help make a positive difference."
He asked cooperatives to assess how farmers' income can be doubled by 2022 through their movement.
"See what best practices to adopt and give up the old ones and move ahead," he said while asserting that rural India should not be left behind on the growth path.
Stating that farmers are facing many problems, Modi said there is a need to establish a system to ensure farmers buy and sell at wholesale rates.
"Today, farmers buy at retail rate and sell (their produce) at wholesale rates. Can it be reversed?. If they buy (inputs) at wholesale rates and sell at retail price, then nobody can loot them, not even middlemen," he said.
Farmers associated with dairy cooperatives have grown as they buy and sell milk at wholesale rates, Modi said adding that farmers would not have earned more had they sold their produce to private firms.