NEW DELHI: Union Minister for Home and Cooperation Amit Shah will inaugurate a day-long mega conclave ‘Strengthening PACS through FPOs’ in New Delhi on July 14.
The conclave is aimed at discussing ways to strengthen Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) through Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), according to the Ministry of Cooperation.
The conclave will witness participation of experts from the sector as well as members from the FPOs across the country. The mega conclave is being organized by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Cooperation.
Being collective entities formed by farmers, enabling them to pool resources and enhance their bargaining power, the FPOs are one of the major vehicles for agricultural transformation. In order to realize the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’ and with the efforts of Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah, recently a decision was taken to form 1,100 new FPOs in cooperative sector, the ministry said.
With an important initiative of Ministry of Cooperation Ministry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has recently allocated additional blocks to NCDC to form and promote 1,100 FPOs in Cooperative sector through strengthening of PACS under the scheme to bolster the cooperative sector and provide comprehensive support to small and marginal farmers, it said.
Under the FPOs scheme, financial assistance of Rs 33 lakh is provided to each FPO. Further, financial assistance of Rs 25 lakh per FPO is given to the Cluster Based Business Organizations (CBBOs) for promoting and handholding the FPOs.
FPOs are being touted as playing a crucial role in making farming sustainable and in promoting livelihoods and improving overall quality of life of those dependent on agriculture. They help small and marginal farmers/producers access better prices, reduce transportation cost, and enhance overall productivity, the ministry said.
The government has been pushing for integration of the PACS in the FPO scheme to enable the farmers to expand their business range of activities such as supply of production inputs; agricultural equipments like cultivator, tiller, harvester, etc. and processing and value addition, including cleaning, assaying, sorting, grading, packing, storage, transportation, etc, it said.
The PACS have a huge member base of around 13 crore farmers who are primarily engaged in short-term credit and distribution of seeds, fertilizers, etc. Presently, more than 86% of farmers in the country are small and marginal.
Since there is a need to facilitate these farmers with access to improved technology, credit, better input and more markets to incentivize them to produce better quality commodities, the government has already taken steps to encourage the farmers associated with the PACS to form FPOs. In this regard, the Central Sector Scheme “Formation and Promotion of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs)” was launched under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
The NCDC is a statutory organisation under Ministry of Cooperation with the mandate to plan, promote, and finance cooperatives for increasing production and productivity and instituting post-harvest facilities. During the FY 2022-23, the NCDC disbursed Rs 41,031.39 crore in different sectors including agriculture processing, weaker sections, computerization of cooperatives, service, credit and youth cooperatives and others, it added.