Foreign Direct Investment would bring down post-harvest losses and help farmers as well as consumers, Union Agriculture and Food Processing Minister Sharad Pawar said on Monday.

“Post-harvest and transit losses… are high — I am told up to Rs. 40,000 crore by one estimate. More investment is required for setting up cold chains. It will benefit farmers and also consumers,” he told journalists on the sidelines of Rabi Conference 2012-13.

Pointing out that the decision to allow foreign retailers to open stores was left to the State governments, he said that once the States opposing the policy saw how development was coming to the other States, they would also get interested.

The Minister allayed fears about small stores and kiranawalas getting devoured by a mega superstore in the vicinity. “I have seen in different countries, small retail shops continue to function even after… FDI. In New York City, for instance, you get to see both big department stores as well as small retail shops around hotels,” he said.

Initially, there might be some problems in implementing the policy, but once farmers and consumers saw the benefits, the opposing States would also fall in line.

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