Smallholder farmers transforming into producer organization

In Jharkhand, seven farmer clubs from Agrarian Prosperity Programme (APP) were registered with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to reap the benefit of economies of scale in purchase of inputs, processing and marketing of their produce.

The process was long but it’s a new pathway towards development for the smallholder farmers. By registering with NABARD, farmers can seize economic opportunities and greater control over their produce.

Supported by SCIAF, Caritas India along with Naya Sawera Vikas Kendra is working with smallholder farmers of Gumla District, Jharkhand for the increased food security and livelihood options. The agricultural production of the farmers has been increased by 20% and as a next step, farmer clubs formed under the project are gearing up to access larger benefits by registering themselves with NABARD.

To educate smallholders about the benefit of Farmer’s Producer Organisation (FPO), a workshop was organized under Agrarian Prosperity Program (APP) at Palkot in association with NABARD.

FPO is a policy of the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, which is implemented by NABARD, where farmers are organised and registered as a company. Being equal shareholders, profits (if any) of the company are distributed equally as dividend among all member farmers.

It is a legal entity formed by primary producers, viz. farmers, milk producers, fishermen, weavers, rural artisans, craftsmen, etc. Producer Organizations have been considered to be one of the effective means of linking small producers with the agricultural value chain for the purpose of enhancing net income of producers.

Pradipta Chand, Thematic Officer NRM shared that the objective is to strengthen farmers capacity, ensuring access to and usage of quality inputs and facilitating access to markets. The process of registering as FPO involves collectivising farmers in a region and encouraging them to come together to form a company, for the benefit of all.

“There is a visible change in the attitude of smallholder farmers and they look very organised having sufficient field experience and learnings on collective farming initiative done in APP by the organisation. Both the area and the farmers have the potential to form a producer organisation and I shall be happy to support it”, said Mr. Nishit Kumar, DDM NABARD.

Mr. Arjun Singh, a farmer’s representative shared with NABARD, DDM that there is abundance of major commodities including forest produces but lack of proper marketing.

Dr. Pallab De, Thematic Manager of Caritas India, shared about the rich experience working with smallholder and support of NABARD in other states and suggested to initiate the formation of FPO with those farmers clubs, who are working collectively.

The upcoming scenario of the Government policy regarding farmers support in agriculture sector was shared by Mr. Baibhav Toppo, Block Technical Manager (ATMA). Soon all the schemes will be processed by the departments only through the groups. Therefore, he suggested farmers to be organized in groups.