“Indian farmers are born in debt, living in debt and dying in debt” a statement as old as hills. A nation with around 85% Small and marginal farmers, affordability is the biggest issue. What Indian agriculture need is a scale neutral approach, which is practically very difficult to implement. Farmer collective is one of the best way to improve the condition of Indian farmers in this present scenario.
Time has come to see agriculture as a business, for that viable and sustainable institution of the farmers, by the farmers and for the farmers need to be formed. Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) are the need of the hour.
An FPO can be formed as
- Co-operatives , Registered under Co-operative societies Act of respective states
- Multi state co-operatives, Registered under Multi State Co-operative Societies Act 2002
- Farmer Producer Companies, Registered under The Indian Companies Act 1956
- Societies, Registered under Society Registration Act 1860
- Public trust, Registered under Indian Trust Act 1882
Any individual or institution like NABARD, SFAC, State Government etc can promote an FPO.
What FPOs in Indian can do?
FPOs in India can act as an agency for aggregation of inputs, when a group of farmers with small land holdings come together they can purchase inputs in bulk which ultimately provide a bargaining power for the small and marginal farmers. For the adoption of technology in agriculture the major concern is affordability, if FPOs are formed the constrain of affordability can be removed to a great extent. Another problem for the farmers is marketing of the produce, when farmers form an organisation it helps in collective selling of output.
When orientation is given to farmers, the farmers can undertake collective value addition and sell these value added products in the market at a higher rate i.e. it gives access to investment and markets . The FPOs can act as the implementing agency for various Schemes of Government like MNREGA. Some model FPOs also undertake savings among the members to meet the immediate financial requirement of members. Organisations like this also provide access to credit facilities for the farmers.
The motto “Together we achieve more” is applicable in FPOs. When a group of farmers come together with similar interest they can earn more achieve more and become a self sustainable profitable organisation. It is sure that FPOs are the key to bring a successful change in Indian agriculture.