APMC wholesalers enter retail trade to multiply profits

Written By Unknown on Senin, 08 Juli 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Price rise seems to bring excellent tangible and intangible profit to politicians and businessmen alike. Bulk vegetable traders are sensing opportunity amid spiralling food inflation.
The APMC wholesalers of Vashi, who are entering the retail market for the first time through state government stalls, have offered to extend the subsidy scheme to housing societies as well.

"If clusters of 15-20 buildings call for vegetables the day before, we will be happy to provide them for 20% less than retail rates," said APMC director Sanjay Pansare. At current rates, wholesalers are selling vegetables to retailers for Rs 20-22 per kg but would stand to earn Rs 55-60 per kg by selling to common consumers.

They procure from farmers for a fraction of that amount. "We would incur costs on transportation, wastage and spoilage so we obviously cannot sell at the declared wholesale rate. Still consumers will save a few rupees on every purchase," Pansare said. APMC will take big orders of approximately 500 kg from housing societies, corporates and any other bulk buyer.

"Small orders of 50-100 kg are not viable. Buyers will have to allot space in the locality or compound, and appoint one or two people to liaise and coordinate the operation with us. Since this scheme will operate on private premises, they will not even require police permission or civic licences. There will not incur additional costs like roadside vendors do, for instance, keeping BMC officials or policemen happy," Pansare said. APMC plans to start a helpline once the government initiates the subsidised vegetable scheme at cooperative stores later this week.

"Once that happens, any bulk buyer can telephone us a day in advance till 6.00 pm. We will send vegetables the following day. The advantage for us is that we will get cash payment on the spot," said the director. Denying the profit motive, Pansare said APMC would "merely be glad to empty the 700-odd trucks of produce that arrive daily".

"Onion may be the only problem given the seasonal shortage," he said. Yet, the scheme will not include fruit just yet, given that "margins are low". "The profit margin in vegetables is very high. You yourself have written that retailers are charging four times more than the wholesale rate," said the APMC head.

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