CHENNAI: For the welfare of small and marginal farmers accounting for 92 per cent of farmers in Tamil Nadu, the State is launching a new project to promote collective farming and to add value to the supply chain of farm produce through micro enterprises and service institutions owned and run by them by forming Farmers Interest Groups (FIG) to be integrated later into Farmer Producer Group (FPG).
As announced in the budget for 2017-18, the State has allocated `100 crore for the project this financial year to cover two lakh farmers.
In the next five years, 40 lakh small and marginal farmers will be covered. A corpus fund of `5 lakhs will be given to each FPG (group of 100 farmers) and 2,000 FPGs will be supported with a `100 crore fund from the State kitty.
An official note here stated that the Development of Humane Action (DHAN) and Dr Vadivelu, retired dean, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, both experienced in forming farmers’ groups, would be State consultants to handle the entire FIG/FPG/FPO formation process.
Small and marginal farmers in contiguous areas would be identified and grouped as Farmers Interest Groups (FIG). Five FIGs will be integrated into Farmer Producer Group (FPG). Each FPG would have at least 100 farmers. About 10 such groups in a contiguous area would later be federated into Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO).
The project objectives include mobilising small and marginal farmers numbering 74.47 lakhs into FPGs to share knowledge of better practices; cost effective farming techniques to increase productivity; upgrading the FIGs into FPOs for improved livelihood, keeping in mind the collective interest of farmers for higher profits.
This project also aims at giving financial aid support for forming the groups, social capital development, human resource development, registration of FPOs, purchase of farm machineries, etc.The project also aims at removing hurdles in farmers’ access to credit and markets and creating a conducive environment for collective production and marketing for better profitability and sustainability.
The aim is also to keep alive the interest of farmers in farming.