Source: Business Standard, Feb 29, 2020
Lucknow: Aiming to augment agricultural income by helping farmers trade in their produce, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched 10,000 Farmers Producer Organisations (FPO) all over the country.
Addressing the launch ceremony at Chitrakoot district in Uttar Pradesh, Modi said the government would spend Rs 5,000 crore in the next five years to strengthen FPOs for the benefit of farmers.
“The farmers have always been producers, but with the help of FPOs, they can now trade in farm produce. They will sow crop and also act as skillful traders to get the right prices,” he observed.
On the occasion, he also laid the foundation of UP’s mega infrastructure project, the 296-km Bundelkhand Expressway, which is estimated to cost Rs 15,000 crore.
The PM said the Central Government had integrated farm policies with the farmers’ income to maximise the benefits even as he referred to the increase in the minimum support price (MSP), soil health card, neem coated urea and reenergising irrigation schemes to buttress his point.
“More than 85 million farmers’ families have been provided with over Rs 50,000 crore under PM Kisan, of which more than 20 million farmers belong to UP, who have been paid Rs 12,000 crore,’ he said adding payments were being made directly into their bank accounts.
Modi said the PM Kisan and other farmers’ schemes were targetted to save farmers from the clutches of the money lenders and to provide them each penny intended for them.
Meanwhile, he announced plans were also afoot to integrate all PM Kisan beneficiaries with the flagship Kisan Credit Card (KCC), so that such farmers could borrow loans from banks.
Under the Fasal Bima Yojana, the Indian farmers had been paid total claims worth Rs 56,000 crore against the total premium collection of Rs 13,000 crore, he informed.
The PM said the Centre was working on a mega plan to upgrade the rural mandis into modern agri retail markets and to further integrate them with the state agro marketing boards and the government e-marketplace e-NAM.
“We are working on a plan so that the farmers need not travel long distances to sell their produce,” he said adding transactions worth Rs one trillion had been done on mandis integrated with e-NAM so far.
He said at least one FPO should be formed at each block level for deeper percolation of the scheme. Nearly 86 per cent of Indian farmers are small and marginal with average land holdings being less than 1.1 hectares. These together with the landless farmers face challenges in accessing technology, quality seeds, fertilisers and pesticides apart from finance, in addition to marketing their produce. The FPOs would provide a platform for ‘collectivisation’ of small, marginal and landless farmers and give them collective strength to deal with such issues.