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FPOs – Turning Farmers into a Market Force to Reckon With

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 29 February 2020 in Uttar Pradesh’s Chitrakoot has launched 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) spread all over the country, and also kickstarted the distribution drive of Kisan Credit Cards.

It is important to understand how the government is upping the stature of farmers from a mere agriculture grower to a person with an entrepreneurial spirit. It coincides with the completion of one year of PM Kisan, which put more than ₹50,000 crore in the pocket of more than 8 crore small and medium farmers across the length and breadth of India. Now, these FPOs and Kisan Credit Cards will carry forward this story, raising it to another level.

The Idea Behind FPOs

It is a known fact that the Indian agriculture scene is dominated by small land holdings. Nearly 86% of farmers are small and marginal with average land holdings in the country being less than 1.1 hectare. From sowing to marketing, small farmers face challenges in bringing efficiency and scale in their operations.

However, if the farmers are united in their efforts, they can achieve benefits of greater scale, in turn profiting greatly when it comes to processing and branding of their produce. It is here that the 10,000 FPOs created across the country will play a pivotal role.

FPOs will pave way for the unification of small, marginal and landless farmers, giving them the collective strength to deal with issues of technology, quality control and financing. Members of the FPOs will manage their activities together in the organization to get better access to technology, input, finance and market for faster enhancement of their income.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while launching FPOs has said that they will also play an important role in the Jal Shakti Abhiyan, as the FPOs will decide which water bodies are to be taken up for conservation and how the pipelines and other infrastructures to be laid in providing every home with water.

Kisan Credit Cards

When the government is instilling an entrepreneurial spirit among the farming community, a systematic credit system at the disposal of farmers becomes the need of the hour.

Over 6.5 Crore of the approximately 8.5 Crore beneficiaries under PM-KISAN Scheme possess Kisan Credit Cards. Now, the saturation drive aims to bring the remaining beneficiaries to the credit system. A 15 day special drive was launched from February 12 to 26 to provide access to concessional institutional credit to all the PM-KISAN beneficiaries, wherein a simple one page form has to be filled with the basic data including bank account number, land record details and a simple declaration that he is presently not a beneficiary of the card from any other bank branch.

 

Thus, from producing to marketing to financing to building a conducive eco-system, the Modi government is completing the ecosystem, reshaping the farmers community as one united power house.

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