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Posted at: Oct 6, 2018, 12:03 AM; last updated: Oct 6, 2018, 12:03 AM (IST)

Collaborative farming to raise income, skip middlemen

Karnal farmers form Indri Farmer Producer Company Ltd with 200 members
Collaborative farming to raise income, skip middlemen
Members of a farmer producers organisation auction their produce at the Indri grain market in Karnal. Tribune photo: Sayeed Ahmed

Parveen Arora

Farmers of Karnal have started adopting collaborative farming by forming farmer producer organisations (FPO). They say it will reduce their cultivation cost and enhance their income, besides eradicating the role of middleman. This will also facilitate small and marginal farmers who are forced to quit farming in view of decreasing landholdings and income from agriculture. 

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is assisting farmers to form FPOs — an initiative of the Union Government. Farmers have already formed four groups in Karnal district while there are 50 such groups in Haryana and 2,000 in the country. An organisation of around 200 farmers from Bhadson, Sarwan Majra, Kheri Jatan, Keherba, Khanpur, Badarpur, Muradgarh, Chogama, Hansu Majra and other villages has got itself registered with the Indri grain market for selling and procuring the produce of farmers.

“We have formed Indri Farmer Producer Company Ltd for providing benefits to small and marginal farmers. All 200 farmers have contributed Rs 1,000 each to become its members. NABARD is also extending financial help along with all kind of technical assistance in making the farmers aware about modern agriculture,” says Sahab Singh Dabas, president of the Indri organisation.

He says they have also got the firm registered for the sale and purchase of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides. “We have procured seeds, fertilisers and pesticides in bulk for the member farmers. As the firm is registered with the Indri grain market, its members have now got a platform to sell their produce without a middleman. Every farmer is getting one per cent commission on the sale of his produce and the remaining 1.5 per cent is being deposited in the account of the organisation. Earlier, the commission used to go to arhtiyas,” he adds.

Hemmat Singh, another member of the organisation from Jainpur, says he has only 2.5 acres and was not able to get the latest equipment for preparing his fields and stubble management, but now he is getting all assistance.

Woman farmer Manju Bhatia, who is one of the directors of Indri Farmer Producer Company Ltd, says NABARD by organising workshops of scientists has facilitated them with knowledge about how to use pesticides and fertilisers.

Gopal Krishan Bhatia, another farmer, says that the profit of the organisation will be distributed equally among the shareholders and no farmer can transfer his or her share to anyone else.

In the coming days, Indri Farmer Producer Company Ltd will focus on food processing, packaging and storage of their produce such as tomato, potato. “We have a plan for a cold store for saving perishable crops. We will also open a processing plant to process the produce,” says Sahab Dabas.

Sushil Kumar, assistant general manager, NABARD, says that the main aim of the FPO is to ensure better income to small and marginal farmers by connecting them with the latest technology, reducing their cost of cultivation and providing a market for their produce. Around 600 farmers in Nilokheri, 500 in Karnal block and 55 in Taraori have established FPOs, he adds.

It will also make farmers self-reliant and free from the middlemen, says Aditya Dabas, Deputy Director Agriculture. This initiative will also encourage farmers, who are no more inclined towards farming, to return to agriculture, he says.

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