NEW DELHI, 6 July 2020: Indian agriculture & farmers’ welfare minister, Narendra Singh Tomar said that Farmers’ Producer Organizations (FPOs) will not only help in agricultural progress, but also create new avenues for the development of the country.
Addressing a meeting of Laghu Udyog Bharati and Sahakar Bharati through video conference, in which Ministers of State for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Purushottam Rupala and Kailash Choudhary, and Union Minister of State for Water Resources Arjun Ram Meghwal, the minister said that creation of 10,000 FPOs will add a new dimension to farmers’ groups.
The minister adding further said that 86 percent farmers in the country are small and marginal farmers, who will strengthen the rural economy through these FPOs.
Tomar said that in the beginning, the minimum number of members in the FPOs would be 300 in the plains and 100 in the North-East and hilly areas. The FPOs which are being formed for the benefit of small, marginal and landless farmers, will be managed in such a way that these farmers get access to technological inputs, finances, and better markets and prices for their crops, so as to fulfil the target of doubling farmers’ incomes by the year 2022 as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The FPOs will help to reduce the cost of production and marketing, and also help to improve production in the agricultural and horticultural sectors. This will also help to increase employment opportunities.
‘One district – One Product’ approach to increase value addition, marketing and exports
Tomar said that in the Budget 2020-21, there is a proposal to adopt cluster approach for horticultural produce through “One district – One Product” scheme so as to give a fillip to value addition, marketing and exports. This is a central scheme, whose total budget is INR 6,865 crores.
All FPOs will be provided professional support and handholding for 5 years. Over 15 percent of the FPOs are to be constituted in aspirational districts, and will be formed on priority basis in scheduled tribal areas. This is a produce cluster based scheme. The FPOs will also boost organic and natural farming.
Further elaborating on the scheme, Tomar said that it will be implemented through agencies like National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Small Farmers' Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) and National Cooperative Development Board (NCDC). They will be provided facility of equity grant up to INR 15 lakh on matching equity basis for financial stability. There will be credit guarantee fund with NABARD and NCDC, under which suitable credit guarantee up to INR 2 crores per FPO will be provided.
Understanding the importance of capacity building, training and skill development of the stakeholders, there is a provision to provide training in organizational management, resource planning, marketing and processing through national and regional level institutions.
A number of suggestions were received from the representatives of the participating organizations and discussion on various issues was held.