CHENNAI: The State has released an ambitious plan to promote Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in a big way by providing concessions and incentives. The policy was released by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami recently. The government has been supporting FPOs since 2014-15. By 2019-20, the State has supported 175 FPCs through the Tamil Nadu Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (TNSFAC) with funding from various government schemes. While agencies like NABARD have also been promoting 170 FPCs, there are 157 self-promoted FPCs. Currently, 500 FPCs are registered from Tamil Nadu.
The policy will apply to all FPCs registered under the Companies Act. It will also apply to other FPOs like Farmer Producer Groups (FPGs), consortiums of FPCs, federations etc. The government will facilitate the federation of FPCs into a body conglomerate at regional and State levels. FPOs/FPCs will be treated on par with cooperative societies under the relevant State legislation and they will be allowed to avail benefits and facilities as may be specified. FPOs will be considered as startups and will be eligible to avail benefits under various State and Central schemes/funds such Startup India Funds. Further, FPOs will be supported by extending the subsidies and grant-in-aid available under various schemes of State and Central governments.
According to the policy, the government will assist FPOs in upscaling business skill through appropriate training, exposure visit etc., Besides, Credit Guarantee Scheme and Interest Subvention Scheme will be implemented to provide access to institutional finance to Farmer Producer Companies at concessional rates. The government will encourage 100 per cent financial inclusion for members of FPCs and link them to Kisan Credit Cards.
Stating that FPOs are autonomous, self-help groups controlled by farmer members, the policy has a long indicative list of activities that can be taken up by the FPOs. The activities include - input supply services to provide fertilisers, pesticides, seeds etc.; procurement of agriculture produce from its member farmers, etc.