Delivering the 20th Vaikunth Bhai Mehta Memorial Lecture organized by National Cooperative Union of India in Delhi on Wednesday, Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog said that, strengthening the cooperative movement rather than encouraging contract farming would be crucial for doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
Kant who has come up the beaucoracy ladder said that through cooperatives only can the farmers get the right price of their produce in right time. “Given India’s fragmented land-holdings there are only two ways farmers’ income can be doubled- contract farming or pooling of lands through co-op formations. I would prefer the latter and the former is possible only in a corporate framework. In cooperative framework the profit is ploughed back to producers”, he stressed.
The early part of Kant’s speech was read out by him from a prepared note and induced slumber among the audience. But it was in the later part of his speech that he spoke extempore and galvanized the audience with his ideas, underlining the importance of connecting with audience through informal means.
This Lecture was attended by many Chairmen and Managing Directors of national level cooperative organizations besides representative of various educational institutions. Fishcopfed Chairman and MD, NCDC MD, Kribhco MD, NCUI Director Kiran Kaketi were some of the participants.
NCUI President Chandra Pal Singh was however conspicuous by his absence. IFFCO also went unrepresented in the show.
Shri Kant further said that for ensuring rights of the members of producer cooperatives, professional management, transparency and accountability of cooperatives would be important. Pointing out the Government of India Yuva Sahakar Scheme under National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC), he said that this scheme is very important for attracting youth towards cooperatives. Laying emphasis on technology upgradation, and improving warehouse and cold storage facilities of cooperatives, he said that this is important for value-addition which can be very beneficial for the farmers.
He also said that cooperatives need to diversify in new areas of activities like floriculture, horticulture, etc. so as to double farmers’ income. He also emphasized on proper marketing and branding of products of cooperatives in the changing market scenario. In the wake of new Agriculture Export Policy, Shri Kant further said that necessary steps should be taken so that the farmers attached with cooperatives are able to export their products which can be useful in doubling of farmers’ income. In this regard, he emphasized on strengthening E-NAM platform for which a strong movement should be initiated.
Speaking on this occasion Shri G.H. Amin, Vice President, NCUI said that cooperatives must be given a due place in the planning process of the country, and they should also not be neglected in budget formulation. Laying emphasis on the achievements, a wide network and reach of cooperatives, he further said cooperatives can be the best institutions for doubling of farmers’ income.
N. Satya Narayana, Chief Executive, NCUI speaking on the occasion presented a brief profile of Late Vaikunth Bhai Mehta, a veteran cooperative leader who had played an important role in strengthening cooperative education and training.
Ms. Arti Bisaria, a woman cooperator presented a vote of thanks on this occasion. A latest version of Statistical Profile of NCUI was also released on this occasion.