Farmer producer bodies need help -BS Suran / N Lalitha

-The Hindu Business Line

FPOs are for the small producer, typically left out by schemes and sops. They need not just inputs but marketing support

Agriculture provides livelihoods to millions of small landholders in India. A few government initiatives to support farmers — such as increased MSP, interest subsidies, free electricity, and loan waivers — reach a limited percentage of farmers and, hence, have a limited impact.

The Telangana Government’s decision to provide direct cash transfer to farmers based on their landholding addresses only a part of the issue. A long-term solution to address farmers’ distress is the need of the hour. Organising the farmers into farmer producer organisations (FPOs) could be one viable option.

Well-organised FPOs engage in providing a range of assistance to farmers like imparting better farm practices, collectivisation of input purchases, transportation, linkage with markets, and better price realisation as they do away with the intermediaries. A few States have formulated specific policy to promote FPOs in a significant manner. However, there are a few areas that require attention to make FPOs operationally successful.

Number and status

FPOs started taking shape in the country in the recent decade, where 80-90 per cent of the members are farmers with small landholding. According to a 2017 NABARD publication, around 5,000 FPOs are operating in the country, which were formed under various initiatives of the Central Government (including Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium), State governments, NABARD, and other organisations.

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The Hindu Business Line, 9 January, 2019, https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/farmer-producer-bodies-need-help/article25952536.ece

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