Govt promoting setting up FPOs to boost income of small farmers: Tomar

NEW DELHI, Feb 28: Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday said the Government will promote setting up of more Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in the country as part of its efforts to increase income of small and marginal farmers.
Addressing a conference organised by CII-NCDEX FPO summit, he said the government has already started a scheme to set up 10,000 FPOs with an outlay of Rs 6,865 crore and the programme is being implemented at a fast pace.
Tomar said the programme of setting up FPOs is very effective in ensuring progress of small and marginal farmers.
Nearly 86 per cent of farmers are small and marginal with average land holdings of less than 1.1 hectare.
Tomar said the Government is making efforts to make Indian agriculture profitable and bring prosperity to farmers.
To boost farmers’ income, he said the government is trying to ensure availability of easy finances, market linkages and elimination of middlemen in agri marketing.
The minister said the Government is also promoting use of technology in agri sector, crop diversification and encouraging farmers to grow high value crops of global quality standards.
With an aim to raise investment in the agriculture sector, Tomar highlighted that the Government has increased agriculture credit target to around Rs 18 lakh crore from Rs 6-7 lakh crore in 2014.
The Government has also launched PM-KISAN scheme under which Rs 1.82 lakh crore has been transferred directly into bank accounts of around 11 crore farmers, he mentioned.
Noting that the Government has launched Rs 1 lakh crore agri infrastructure fund, Tomar said FPOs could also avail finance from this fund. “There is a need to expand FPOs as the number of small and marginal farmers are high in our country,” Tomar said.
FPOs can help farmers in reducing cost through bulk purchases of inputs, collective use of modern farm equipment and marketing of farm produces. They can play an important role in increasing farmers’ income, the minister said. Therefore, Tomar said the Government intends to expand FPO programme.
Stating that the efforts of all stakeholders are yielding results, Tomar said India is either first or second in production of almost all crops. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, the performance of agriculture sector has been very good in terms of record foodgrains production and healthy exports.
He complimented CII and others for conducting a study on FPOs, which has pointed out certain gaps in setting up of FPOs.
Tomar assured that the Government will consider suggestions of the industry to further improve the functioning of FPOs.
The Government has approved and launched a central sector scheme for “Formation and Promotion of 10,000 FPOs” till 2027-28. Under the scheme, the formation and promotion of FPOs is based on produce cluster area approach and specialised commodity-based approach. While adopting cluster-based approach, formation of FPOs will be focussed on ‘One District One Product’ for development of product specialisation. (PTI)