Farmers are members of the Farmer Producers Organization, which provides comprehensive support to small farmers, as well as technical services, marketing, processing and other aspects of crop inputs. The concept of the initiative is that farmers producing essential food grains can organize themselves into groups and register under the Indian Business Act. (FPOs)
Agri-Tech Startup Helping Women Lead FPOs In India
Agriculture currently employs more than 50% of Indians and contributes more than 20% of the country’s GDP. While large farmers in various parts of the country find ways to maximize profits while maximizing output, small farmers are struggling to make ends meet in the face of rising demand for wheat and rising fuel and fuel prices. fertilizers.
As a result, a Chennai-based agricultural technology and value chain enabler is helping small farmers in India to form farmer-producer organizations (FPOs) and increase the quantity and quality of their produce.
Farmers are members of the Farmer Producers Organization, which provides comprehensive support to small farmers, as well as technical services, marketing, processing and other aspects of crop inputs. The concept of the initiative is that farmers producing essential food grains can organize themselves into groups and register under the Indian Business Act.
The goal is to improve competitiveness and expand opportunities in emerging markets. In general, the objectives of FPOs can be divided into three categories: farmers’ need for capital, markets, and technology.
As they try to achieve all three goals, small farmers face a number of challenges. Pravesh Sharma, director of Samunnati Agro, said: “If a farmer has a small land holding, his bargaining power in the market is limited. Institutions are hesitant to lend money to small farmers because they don’t think the farm is profitable. In contrast, the viability of a large farmer is never in doubt.”
FPOs first appeared almost two decades ago and seemed to be the answer to the growing needs of farmers. To date, implementing agencies have been assigned a total of 4,465 new FPOs producing groups for FPO formation, with a total of 632 FPOs registered.
Samunnati began with the intention of addressing the concerns of small farmers. FPOs provide a huge window of opportunity in the smallholder farming ecosystem, accounting for 87% of total production. Samunnati has helped more than 3,000 FPOs through market connections, capital loans, and technology solutions, among other things.
Tulsa Prajapati, chairwoman of Damoh Mahila Kisan Private Company Limited, told The Logical Indian that she started working with Samunnati almost six months ago. She stated, We have seen a tremendous increase in sales since we changed the way we operate. During the lockdown, the company held meetings with farmers to help them understand the FPO concept. Damoh FPO had more than 310 shareholders as of June last year.
One of the most difficult challenges they encountered was convincing small farmers to make the initial investment of Rs 1,000. Wheat was the first crop we sold during the lockdown. As company representatives went from pillar to pillar spreading the message and benefits of joining the FPO, women were never eager to join Samunnati.
Samunnati initially lent the farmers 5 lakhs, which helped them significantly increase their annual turnover to more than 1 crore. Besides wheat, farmers in Madhya Pradesh grow soybeans, moong, urad, masoor and chana dal. The villagers were initially hesitant to join Samunnati.
Samunnati collaborates with resource institutions in each state, which could be local civil society organizations that work directly with FPOs. As a result of its affiliation with these resource institutions, Samunnati gains visibility among local FPOs. The Women’s FPO was promoted by the Madhya Bharat Consortium of FPOs. At the state level, the consortium of more than 150 FPOs has promoted 15 women’s FPOs.
Women farmers receive 1% of all transactions made while working with the company. Women can sell goods worth Rs 50 lakhs on average. Also, at least one transaction occurs every two days. When asked about his future plans, Prajapati replied, We just want our company to prosper. We are excited to make our mark in Mandi and open warehouses. Also, we intend to increase the number of shareholders from 310 to 450. Furthermore, she emphasized that only women are interested parties.
Samunnati does everything to keep the business running smoothly. However, it does not supply inputs directly, but instead connects FPOs with suppliers and finances transactions. Since 2016, the company has worked with FPOs and has helped over 3,000 FPOs. In addition, the company is the only formal lender that provides loans to farmers without collateral.
Samunnati wants to work with FPOs as partners rather than customers. According to Pravesh Sharma of The Logical Indian, FPOs are the long-term solution for adding value and sustainability. In addition, the company plans to enter climate-smart agriculture through technology interventions and collaborative partnerships with international organizations. Seed varieties, as well as some cultural practices related to crops, they must evolve with the times. We want to be able to help women with access to the market and technological services, at the same time that we help them adapt to climate change in the long term.