In a first step towards setting up of the Farmers Produce Organisations (FPOs) and Fish Farmer Producer Organisations (FFPOs) in the Union Territory Lakshadweep, the island administration and National Co-operative Development Corporation (NCDC), have inked a pact to scale up farming operations of the agricultural and coastal communities for better access to quality input, technology, credit and market through economies of scale.
The MoU was signed recently by Sundeep Kumar Nayak, Managing Director of NCDC on behalf of the apex finance entity under the Union Agriculture Ministry with A Anbarasu, Advisor to Lakshadweep Administrator in the presence of UT Administrator Praful Patel.
As part of the collaboration, among various activities, the NCDC would also appoint Community based Business Organisation (CBBO) to promote FPOs and FPPOs by collaborating with them in a holistic manner, said Nayak.
The NCDC will provide handholding to these organizations for next five years to help them realise a better price of their farm produce and make them self-reliant in the long term, he added.
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.”
Setting up the FPOs and FFPOs is the part of the Narendra Modi Government’s scheme of bringing more and more small and marginal farmers on a big platform as a joint entity for which budgetary support of `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.
Besides, as per the pact, the NCDC and Lakshadweep administration 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.