Reliance Industries says no plans to enter ‘contract farming’

Reliance Industries, India’s largest private company, today rebutted rumors that the company has purchased agricultural lands on a large scale and that it plans to carry out contract farming to take advantage of the new farming laws.

The clarification comes in the wake of a online campaign targeting the company, as well as rival Adani Group, for allegedly persuading the government to come out with the farming ordinances. The ordinances remove several stumbling blocks for private sector companies in procuring and storing essential commodities such as food grains.

Reliance Industries denied that it has ever done contract farming, or plans to do so.

“Reliance Retail Limited (RRL), Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), or any other affiliate  of our parent company, i.e., Reliance Industries Limited have not done any “corporate” or  “contractfarming in the past, and have absolutely no plans to enter this business,” it said.

“Neither Reliance nor any of our subsidiaries has purchased any agricultural land, directly  or indirectly, in Punjab/Haryana or anywhere else in India, for the purpose of “corporate” or  “contract” farming. We have absolutely no plans to do so,” it added.

It also denied rumors that it pressurizes its partners to supply it with food grains and other commodities are very low prices, which allegedly hurts farmer incomes.

The company pointed out that it is India’s biggest retailer of essential commodities, including food grains, fruits and vegetables. Despite this, it does not indulge in any practice designed to rob farmers and small manufacturers of their income, the Mukesh Ambani firm claimed.

“Reliance Retail does not purchase any food  grains directly from farmers. It has never entered into long-term procurement contracts  to gain unfair advantage over farmers or sought that its suppliers buy from farmers at  less than remunerative prices, nor will it ever do so,” the company said.

The company said it sees the farmers as the ‘food providers’ of the country and will strictly follow any minimum price that may be set by the government.

“As customers of their services, we believe in  building a strong and equal partnership with Indian farmers on the basis of shared  prosperity, inclusive development and an equitable New India. 

“Therefore, Reliance and its affiliates fully share and support the aspiration of Indian farmers  to get a fair and profitable price on a predictable basis for what they produce with exemplary  hard work, innovation and dedication. Reliance seeks significant augmentation of their  incomes on a sustainable basis, and pledges to work towards this goal. Indeed, we shall  insist on our suppliers to strictly abide by the Minimum Support Price (MSP)  mechanism, and/or any other mechanism for remunerative price for farm produce, as  may be determined and implemented by the government,” the company added.

The company said it was pained by the acts of vandalism on its infrastructure, particular telecom towers and other such erections, seen in the wake of the anti-farm law protests.

“The miscreants indulging in vandalism have been instigated and aided by vested interests and  our business rivals. Taking advantage of the ongoing farmers’ agitation near the national capital,  these vested interests have launched an incessant, malicious and motivated vilification  campaign against Reliance, which has absolutely no basis in truth.”

India’s largest company by revenue also thanked the police and the authorities of Punjab and Haryana for taking steps to protect the company’s properties.

“This has reduced the incidents of vandalism in recent  days. However, our company, through its Petition in the Honourable High Court, has sought  punitive and deterrent action against miscreants and vested interests, so that Reliance can run  all its businesses smoothly in Punjab and Haryana once again,” it added.