Union Territory Lakshadweep and National Co-operative Development Corporation (NCDC), an apex finance entity under the Union Agriculture Ministry have inked a pact to scale up farming operations of the farmers and fishermen for better access to quality input, technology, credit and market through economies of scale.
This will be done through by establishing Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and Fish Farmer Producer Organisations (FPPOs) in the island where for every one out of seven persons is a fisherman.
The MoU was signed by Sundeep Nayak, Managing Director of NCDC on behalf of the central finance agency and Advisor to Lakshadweep Administrator A Anbarasu in the presence of Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Patel.
As part of the collaboration among various activities, the NCDC would appoint Community based Business Organisation (CBBO) to promote FPOs and Fishermen Promotion FPPOs by collaborating with them in a holistic manner.
Nayak said that as per the MoU, the NCDC will provide handholding to the FPOs for next five years to help them realise better price of their farm produce and in the long run making them self-reliant.
On his part, Anbarasu welcomed the initiative saying that the collaboration will bring innumerable benefits in the region. “This will ensure employment and entrepreneurship skills among farmers and fishermen in the island. One out of seven persons is a fisherman here engaged in coastal activities like fisheries, seaweed business and coconut trade besides farming. This is a good beginning and we are looking forward to forming entities of the farmers and fishermen for their benefits besides all round development of the community.”
In fact the agreement is part of the Modi Government’s scheme of bringing more and more small and marginal farmers on big platform as a joint entity for which budgetary support of Rs 4,496 crore by 2024 has been allocated. Aim is to form and promote at least 10,000 new FPOs by that period across the States.
Currently, there are over 3,000 FPOs in the country, considered to be quite low given the fact that the total marginal and small farmers, having landholding size of up to five acres, account for over 85 per cent of total farmers in the country.
"The FPOs will be formed and promoted through cluster based business organizations (CBBOs) engaged at the state/cluster level by implementing agencies. The CBBOs will have five categories of specialists from the domain of crop husbandry, agrimarketing/value addition and processing, social mobilisation, law and accounts and IT/MIS," said an official from the Ministry.
Besides, as per the pact, the NCDC and Lakshadweep will also work together on areas such as animal husbandry, dairy, agriculture, food processing, rural finance and women issues through cooperative principles in the island.