Vishwas Rajaram Suryavanshi, a 40-year-old small farmer from Dhule district in, Nashik, grows flowers, tomato, cucumber, and onion in his 5-acre farm. His income was about Rs 1lakh in 2019, before the Coronavirus. During the pandemic and the lockdown, however, he earned Rs 1.75 lakh, an increase of 75 percent.
Suryavanshi is a shareholder in Nisargraj, a Farmer Producer Company (FPC) for the last five years. “Earlier I was travelling to far-off places to fetch farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides as well as spending time and money for transportation. Later, by joining this organization, I got all the inputs at my door without incurring any extra financial burden for transportation, and my time was also saved. In addition to this, I get the benefit of free consultancy service from the technical persons of the FPC with regard to the usage of fertilizers and pesticides to the optimum level, thereby saving the cost of production. Best of all, the production also increased.”
Nisargraj FPC Ltd has 2,700 farmer shareholders, including 500 women self-help groups (SHG). “The company procures the farm produce, stores and sells it in the market for getting better prices. We are also well-equipped with cold storage, rice mill, dal mill, and oil mill,” said Sanjay Narayan Bhoye (34), the director.
“Besides this, we have advanced implements like chaff cutters and shredders, which give advanced technological support to the farmers for cost-effective farm produce, thereby improvement of income. Last year due to this diverse activity, the company could earn a 26% profit with a turnover of Rs.2.5 crore. Our company received equity capital finance from the NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) and the Tata Trust,” he added
Sasikant Narayan Bhusare (38) is a small farmer who also has two acres of land in Peth block, in Nashik district. For the last two years, he has been a member of the Sangamehswar FPC. “I was doing traditional farming in the small patch of 2 acres growing paddy crop and ragi, which was just giving one-year ration to my family. I earned hardly Rs.25,000 to Rs 35,000. After joining this FPC I took up the integrated farming of mango, cashew along with paddy and ragi which enabled me to earn additional income of Rs.60,000 to Rs.70,000, in addition to my earlier income,” he said.
“Mango and cashew were earlier sold to the traders and the total profit was taken by the traders. However, at present, these products are marketed and sold by the FPC, which in turn earns the profit which is proportionately shared amongst the farmers.” said Bhusare
This FPC has 3,215 tribal farmers as shareholders, with ten directors who undertake the total value chain, from production, processing, storing, marketing, and selling of mango and cashews. “During the pandemic, we had a profit of 12 to 15% of our sales. We have three warehouses of 2,200 square feet each for storing the farm produce,” said the 38-year-old CEO of the company, Ravindra Dhanaji Jadhav.
Replying to a question, Jadhav narrated that during the pandemic they held meetings at the village level with the help of NGOs to provide some inputs which were more beneficial to the tribal farmers. This has built up confidence amongst the farmers, which paved the way to form a large shareholders’ organization, he added.
Another farmer from the Dhule district, Nandalal Patil, (40) spoke about how he had benefitted after joining Shirud Parisar Farmer Producer Company Limited three years ago. “I was growing cotton, jowar, and maize in 5 acres of land for which fertilizer, seeds, and pesticides were purchased from private fertilizer shops. At times, I had to incur losses due to duplicate and bad quality inputs from those private shops. After joining this FPC, I got very good service and genuine input at the doorstep during the Covid 19 pandemic, as a result of which my production has increased and I could earn Rs.1.5 to Rs.2 lakhs income as compared to Rs.80,000 to Rs.1 lakh earlier.” said Patil.
The Shirud Parisar FPC Ltd started in 2019, registered under NABARD. It has 274 shareholders with 10 directors who provide service to the farmers in collaboration with the Lupin Foundation. “During the lockdown, we started providing help to the farmers through Whatsapp. The directors, along with the agricultural field officer used to visit fields of farmers and do soil testing. They provided free consultancy services to the farmers during the pandemic, which increased their productivity and earned a good profit,” said Yogesh Mali, the 33-year-old marketing director of that FPC.
“During the pandemic, the FPOs and FPCs were very useful to the small and marginal farmers, as they provided quality services by reaching out personally and grooming them to expand their income and enhance their livelihood. The efficiency of the FPO/FPC during the pandemic was 60 to 70%,” said Vivek Patil, District Developer Manager (DDM), NABARD, in Dhule.
NABARD is a government organization that helps in promoting, grooming, handholding, capacity building of FPO and FPCs.
Collectivization of farmers into Farmer Producers Organization (FPO) has emerged as a potential tool to transform Indian agriculture into a sustainable business by taking advantage of the economies of scale by aggregation of input demand, produce aggregation, collective marketing, and value addition, thus realizing the optimal returns for their produce, says the organization website, www.nabard.org
At present, there are approximately1940 FPOs in Maharashtra state and approximately 5,000 FPOs in India. Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech for the year 2019-20 mentioned that government intends to create 10,000 more FPOs by 2023-24 with a budgetary outlay of Rs.6,865 crore. The responsibility for this has been given to NABARD.
The scheme includes providing handholding to each FPO for five years from the formation of the entity, that is, the support will continue till 2027-28. Farmers like Bhusare, Patil and Suryavanshi would agree that this is necessary.
- How farmers are doubling their income through FPOs - March 29, 2022