Farmer Producer Organization and Its Probable Role for Promotion of Jute Production Technology & Jute-Based Micro-Enterprises

M. L. Roy
M. L. Roy
Shyamal Sarkar, a farmer member of Sab ka Apna Producer Company Ltd. harvesting his bumper jute crop resulted from ICAR-CRIJAF technology

An organization of producers of any produce/product related to farm, non-farm, artisan etc. can be broadly termed as Producer Organization (PO). It is a registered body consisting of primary producers (farmers, milk men, poultry farmers, fishermen, rural artisans, weavers, craftsmen etc.) as its members.

It may be registered as a producer company, a cooperative society or any legal group which offers sharing of profits/benefits among its members. The Producer Organization where farmers are the members is called Farmer Producer Organization (FPO). The idea behind the formation of FPOs was to organize the farmers, the real producers of agricultural products, into groups.

The individual small and marginal farmer neither require the quantity of input nor produce the volume of output to get the benefit of economies of scale in production and higher bargaining power. These small and marginal farmers often depend on intermediaries especially for marketing of their produce and receive a smaller portion of consumers’ money. The main objective of the FPO is to play an all-round role for its member farmers from procurement of farm inputs to marketing of farm output. It helps in achieving the economies of scale in production and increases the bargaining power of the member farmers. The of function of the FPO is to act in a well-organized manner as the bulk supplier of farm inputs and bulk buyer of farm produce to ensure better income for its producer members. Logistic supports are also provided by the well-established FPOs to its members in farm mechanization, food processing and storage through setting up custom hiring centre, dal mill, oil mill, cold storage etc.

Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) which is a society promoted by Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India has been acting as a facilitator with their mandate to support the State Governments in the formation and promotion of FPOs.

As per the data of SFAC, presently there are 898 registered FPOs in India which are promoted by this society. Twelve FPOs are under the process of registration. Around 889244 farmers in our country have been mobilized through these FPOs and 18711 farmers are under the process of mobilization. The state having largest number of registered FPO is Madhya Pradesh (149) followed by Karnataka (125) and Maharashtra (105). West Bengal is in the fourth position with 89 registered FPOs. There are 93784 farmers in West Bengal who are mobilized through these FPOs.

‘Golden fibre’ jute is one of the important commercial fibre crops of India. India is the largest producer and exporter of raw jute in the world.  It is mainly cultivated in the states like West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Odisha and Meghalaya. The livelihood of jute farmers and mill workers are directly or indirectly dependent on this crop. The bio-degradable and environment-friendly jute fibre is used in packaging, textile, geo-textile, paper, building material and auto-mobile industries. It is also used for making lucrative and attractive diversified products in the forms of bags, folders, apparels, flooring materials, handicrafts etc. The tender jute leaves is a good source of nutrition and popularly used as leafy vegetable.  The leaves of matured jute plants may be used for making compost and jute sticks may also be used for preparing prospective products. The country earns a considerable amount of foreign exchange annually by exporting raw jute and jute products.

West Bengal is the largest producer of jute in the country. Jute is one of the main crops of this state after paddy. Among the 89 FPOs in West Bengal, 40 FPOs are formed in major jute growing districts like Murshidabad (5), Nadia (2),Coochbehar (3), North 24 Parganas (5), Uttar Dinajpur (12), Jalpaiguri (1), Hooghly (7), Malda (2) and Purba Bardhaman (3). Among these 40 FPOs, only 18 FPOs, mostly from Uttar Dinajpur district are working on jute as one of the major crops. So there is a good scope for involving other FPOs in jute cultivation.

The main objective of jute cultivation is to obtain good quality fibre which is a requirement for making jute diversified products. The jute farmers can get more profit by selling high grade jute fibre.  To realize this, promotion of improved jute production technologies is very important. FPOs can play a significant role in this direction. With technical assistance from ICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibres (ICAR-CRIJAF), Barrackpore, a premier institute for research, development and transfer of production technology of jute and allied fibre crops, the FPOs can organize training programmes for its jute grower members on improved production technologies of jute for producing quality fibre and obtaining higher profit.

There is a scope for the FPOs to procure the critical inputs for improved jute cultivation viz. improved seeds, manures and fertilizers, PP chemicals and bio-pesticides, CRIJAF SONA for improved retting etc. in bulk quantity and supply these inputs to the member farmers in proper time and quantity for gaining effective results.

The farmer members of the FPOs may have the opportunity to use the improved farm implements developed by ICAR-CRIJAF like Nail weeder and Single wheel jute weeder (for mechanical weeding), Multi-row seed drill (for line sowing) etc. through custom hiring centres. These implements are essential for cost reduction in jute cultivation to achieve economies of scale.

FPOs can arrange capacity development programmes on making of jute diversified products for farm women, rural youths, school drop-outs and SHG members under its periphery. This will pave the way for women empowerment and rural employment generation through creation of jute-based micro-enterprises.

It can also act as a monitoring agency to supervise the activities of its members so that each and every member can contribute to the growth of his/her FPO by adoption and practical application of improved jute production technologies developed by ICAR-CRIJAF.FPOs can manage the selling and storage of jute fibre in an organized manner so that the member jute growers can get maximum possible profit.     

In a nutshell, it can be asserted that FPOs have a huge scope and prospect of popularization of jute production technologies and jute-based micro-enterprises. The “Of the farmer, by the farmer and for the farmer” ideology of the FPOs would act as a key to accelerate these process of popularization through its mass reach to the farmers. This expected endeavour of the FPOs could lead to the national development through the promotion of the nature friendly jute products and socio-economic development of the jute farmers and product makers.

Author Details

M.L. Roy
Sr. Scientist (Agricultural Extension)
ICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibres, Barrackpore
Email: roymanik0610@gmail.com

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