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Post agri budget, FPOs express need for awareness.

Date: 19-08-2021
Subject: Post agri budget, FPOs express need for awareness
Krishnagiri: After the Union government announced last February that 10,000 farmer producer organisations (FPOs) will be formed across the country in the next five years, the Tamil Nadu  government has given farmer collectives a boost in its separate budget for agriculture on Saturday with a plan to organise 1,100 new FPOs in the state. 

While welcoming the decision, executives of a few existing FPOs in the state shed light on the lack of awareness among people about the workings of FPOs. They claimed that this hindered the growth of organisations in their initial stage. 

S Prabhu, the CEO of Mannargudi Rajagopalswami Ulavar Urapathi Niruvanam in Thiruvarur district said that misplaced expectations of members lead them to lose interest in FPOs after some time. “Some Farmers expect too much from FPOs and miss out on major benefits like removing middlemen, value addition and collective bargaining power,” he explained. Prabhu, who also manages another FPO, said, “Making farmers aware of the benefits of FPOs in the initial stage will help producer companies become successful in the long run.” 

P Precilla, former CEO of Rajakkamangalam Block Coconut Produce Company Limited in Kanyakumari district said that lack of interest among FPO members will prevent its growth. “This also delays decision making and it breeds distrust among members. This makes them averse from spending government grants or profligate them wastefully.” Precilla, who now oversees the functioning of an FPO in her native Karur district, said, “Such conditions have led to non-use of even initial grants given by the government to the Kanyakumari FPO. She suggests frequent meetings, exposure to successful FPOs and constant interactions can make members more active in FPOs.” 

K Mahesh also faced the same problem while managing Kosasthalai Collective Farming Farmer Producer Company Limited in Tiruvallur district. 

“However, farmers became more involved when the FPO received a Rs 60 lakh grant to set up a seed processing unit,” he said. Prabhu said that sometimes grants are given to the same FPOs. “Some of those FPOs get overwhelmed soon and the FPOs that didn’t get any grants lose steam.” He further suggested giving benefits like subsidies, technological training to an individual farmer through FPOs will keep farmers interested in the collective organisations. FPOs which operate for collective welfare succeed, said another executive. 


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