Contesting the words of Managing Director of Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC), Mrs Neel Kamal Darbari, Secretary of agriculture Ministry Mr Sanjay Agarwal said that “SFAC is not small when you see what it is doing”. Agarwal was speaking on the occasion of SFAC’s Silver Jubilee.
Exhorting the SFAC officers to see the broad horizon, the Secretary wanted it to become a nodal agency for all the FPOs in the country. Currently, FPOs are being run by three agencies-SFAC, NABARD and the state govts (which runs them on the grants received from the centre).
Being relatively a new idea FPOs need handholding by the govt in the beginning. The Minister Radha Mohan Singh was candid enough to say that those handheld by SFAC are emerging the best FPOs in the country.
Secretary of agriculture Ministry Mr Sanjay Agarwal asked the MD of SFAC Mrs Darbari during Silver Jubilee function to prepare a vision document on how all the FPOs in the country can come under the umbrella of SFAC. He wanted the adoption of best practices by each of them with the help of SFAC. “Place a report within 3 months before the Ministry”, Agarwal said emphasizing the timeline.
It bears recall that in order to encourage small, medium and marginal farmers, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) are being promoted by the Government. In India, about 5000 FPOs are being formed by various organizations such as the SFAC, NABARD and State Governments.
More than 750 FPOs have been constituted by the SFAC so far. About 7.52 lakh small, medium and marginal farmers have been connected with FPOs.
Primarily aimed at making successful FPOs, SFAC runs various programs such as professional training, professional handholding, Delhi Kisan Mandi, FPO-Buyer e-interface portal and strengthening of basic infrastructure etc.
Besides this, Equity Grant, Credit Guarantee Fund scheme and Venture Capital Assistance scheme are being implemented with the objective of making FPOs financially self-reliant.
In the last four year 349 FPOs have been provided capital subsidy of Rs 20 crore and in addition 38 FPOs have taken advantage of Credit Guarantee Fund scheme. Under Venture Capital Assistance scheme, 850 projects were given Rs 264.32 crore till 2014, which increased to Rs 404.45 crore in 1426 projects in the last 4 years. This has resulted in an impressive increase of 67.76% in projects and 53.03% in the Venture Capital Assistance amount.