Govt to review FPOs performance as support period coming to end

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New Delhi, Jul 8 (PTI) The government will conduct a thorough review of the performance of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) as the three-year support period for these entities coming to an end, Agriculture Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan announced on Monday.

Chauhan made the statement after visiting 55 FPOs who displayed their products at a fair organised at Dilli Haat INA here.

The FPO Scheme, launched in 2020, is aimed to form and promote 10,000 new FPOs by 2024 with a budgetary provision of Rs 6,865 crore.

Under the programme, the government provided financial assistance of Rs 18 lakh per FPO for three years, along with a matching equity grant and credit guarantee facility.

However, the minister acknowledged that outcomes have been varied, with some FPOs achieving significant success while others continue to face challenges.

"Some FPOs are standing on their feet in three years, while some are struggling. We will conduct a thorough review of all FPOs to understand their progress and identify gaps where they need additional support," Chauhan told reporters.

The government-appointed implementing agencies, tasked with providing handholding and support to the new FPOs for up to 5 years, will play a crucial role in the review process.

"The goal is to ensure that all FPOs become self-sustaining and contribute to the overall empowerment of farmers," Chauhan added.

Chauhan noted that about 8,875 FPOs have been established so far across the country, against the target of 10,000. Some FPOs have achieved a turnover of up to Rs 1 crore and are receiving online orders.

The minister emphasised the importance of FPOs in bringing a revolution in agriculture and raising the farmers’ income.

He acknowledged the challenges faced by farmers in marketing their products, unlike big private players with separate marketing budgets.

Chauhan asserted that the products manufactured by FPOs are of better quality than those sold by the big private firms, but they need a marketing platform to reach consumers.

Currently, the Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC) empowers FPOs by providing them access to digital markets and improving their market linkages. Over 5,000 registered FPOs are integrated into the ONDC portal.

The Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is also playing a pivotal role in the promotion, handholding, and capacity building of FPOs to help them become sustainable and viable agribusiness enterprises.

SFAC plans to organise 22 fairs across the country in the current financial year to promote the products of FPOs. The second fair will be held in Ambala, Haryana later this month. PTI LUX LUX SHW

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