Apr 21:The role of Cluster-Based Business Organisations (CBBOs) should be to strengthen Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) so that farmers seek them out. FPO is not merely a company, it is a collective for the benefit of farmers. Emphasizing this in his keynote address at the inaugural session of the National Conference of Cluster-Based Business Organisations (CBBOs) Union Agriculture Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar said that more and more farmers should be part of FPOs. Shri Tomar said that earlier around 7,000 FPOs were made but they could not last and a new scheme of FPOs was launched by the Prime Minister with an outlay of Rs. 6865 crore. At a time when the country is observing Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the government is making every effort for the prosperity of farmers. Union Minister of State for Agriculture Shri Kailash Chaudhary also said that farmers should be enthusiastic about joining FPOs. At the conference Union Agriculture Minister also launched the logo for the 10,000 FPOs Scheme.
Indian agriculture is dominated by small and marginal farmers with average land holdings size of less than 1.1 ha. These small and marginal farmers constituting more than 86 % of the total land holdings are facing tremendous challenges both in production and post-production scenarios like access to production technology, quality inputs at reasonable prices, seed production, custom hiring, value addition, processing, credit, investments, and most important markets. Hence, the collectivization of such producers through the formation of FPOs is very important to address such challenges and enhance their incomes. Realizing the need to form and promote FPOs across the country, the Government formulated a dedicated Central Sector Scheme “Formation & Promotion of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), and the same was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 29.02.2020 at Chitrakoot (UP) for implementation.
The scheme is based on the produce cluster approach to enhance production, productivity, market access, promote diversification, value addition, processing, and export, and also create agri-based employment opportunities with the aim to economically empower farmers.
The FPOs to be eligible under the scheme for financial benefit and technical handholding are required to be registered either under the Companies Act, 2013 or the States’ Co-operative Societies Act with a minimum number of 300 farmers in plain areas and 100 farmers in hilly and NER. Under the scheme, there is a provision for financial support of a maximum of Rs.18.00 lakh per FPO for 3 years as a management cost to make them sustainable and economically viable. To strengthen the financial base of FPOs and entail them to avail of collateral-free loans, there is also a provision for a matching equity grant of a maximum of Rs. 2000/- per member with a ceiling of Rs, 15 lakh /FPO and Credit Guarantee facility up to a bankable project loan of Rs. 2.00 crore respectively.
Under the scheme, CBBOs have been provisioned as the professional agency with a critical role to play as they are to engage themselves all along the value chain starting right from the mobilization of farmers, baseline survey, identification of production clusters, formation of groups, registration and capacity building to the preparation of the business plan, execution thereof with assurance to provide the market to the FPOs. They are also to establish the cardinal link between Implementing Agencies and FPOs.
- More than 5.87 lakh farmers have been mobilized under the Scheme.
- About 3 lakh farmers have been registered as shareholders of the FPOs.
- Equity contribution by farmer members amounts to INR 36.82 crores.
- The total equity base of the FPOs, including the Equity Grant released, amounts to INR 50 crores.
- 201 women-focused FPOs have been registered.
- 481 FPOs registered in tribal districts.
- FPOs have started business transactions:
- 84 FPOs of 14 CBBOs of SFAC have made transactions worth INR 928.28 lakhs
- 12 FPOs of 3 CBBOs of NAFED have made transactions worth INR 48.35 lakhs.
Considering CBBOs significance and to ensure that they discharge their duties effectively and also understand their field-level implementation issues, representatives of 265 CBBOs impaneled by 13 Implementing Agencies were invited to today’s conference. In all the 13 Implementing Agencies, senior officers from State Governments dealing with FPOs were also invited. More than 4,900 produce clusters have been allocated and 2331 FPOs registered.
The inaugural session of the conference was also addressed by Ms. Neelkamal Darbari, Managing Director, SFAC, Dr. G.R. Chintala, Chairman NABARD, Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Agriculture, and Dr. Vijaya Lakshmi Nadendla, Joint Secretary (Policy & Marketing), Agriculture.
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