Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has been roped in to constitute a committee for formulating a customized FPO policy. A dedicated fund, ‘Kheti Kosh’, is also being set up to receive funds from corporates wishing to donate under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) is an institutional form to mobilize farmers who build their capacities to collectively leverage their production and marketing strength. The state has 68 FPOs engaged in agro-processing, dairy and vegetable cultivation.
The idea for having a customized FPO policy, based on broad guidelines of the Ministry of Agriculture, germinated during a meeting on agriculture sustainability held in Amritsar recently. Farmer groups, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other stakeholders felt that the FPO policy, which was announced in the year 2008, was not suitable for the state. It was felt that the policy was made according to the needs and the agricultural eco system of Baramati in Maharashtra.
The Government has initiated the process for customization of the Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) scheme and set up ‘Kheti Kosh’ to receive funding from corporates to strengthen the agricultural sector.
A sum of Rs 50 crore has been approved for the PAU to set up an incubation facility for young farmers and graduates in agriculture, who form their FPOs. The university will train them and help in their capacity building to run collective farmer companies.
Since FPOs having a turnover of up to Rs 100 crore have a five-year tax holiday, it is a good business model to be pursued in Punjab.
“Since this collectivization of small and marginal farmers into producer organizations is regarded as the most effective way to address the challenges of agriculture - improved access to investment, technology, inputs and markets, Punjab can lead young farmers and graduates in agriculture to set up their FPOs,” said Suresh Kumar, Chief Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.
Krishi Jagran/New Delhi