Approximately 54 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) representing 44,000 farmers across 6 countries in India and 15 leading agribusiness corporate entities have come together for Samvad for Safalta – discussions on inclusive agribusiness.
As part of the COVID-19 resilience Initiative, Arya, a leading agritech start up company, has implemented a comprehensive capacity building and field support program for 54 FPOs from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Funded by CDC Plus (the Technical Assistance Program of the CDC Group) and supported by Omnivore, the members of these FPOs have undergone a detailed program designed by Arya to prepare for post-harvest interventions as part of the Technical Assistance Program of Omnivore and CDC.
Ex-Chairman, NABARD, Harsh Bhanwala, emphasized the importance of three key pillars; First social capital, Second technological capital, and Third financial capital to the success of any community initiative. He emphasized that FPOs would allow access to all of these and could reduce the status of smallholder farmers.
He said, ‘Private participation is key to providing farmers with technology interventions, access to trading platforms, value chain and storage innovations, advisory services, mechanized services.’ 15 large private companies and 54 FPOs interested in grain, pulse and spice value chains interacted extensively.
FPOs and companies shared their interest in partnering for more inclusive value chains. Expression of interest was obtained for the purchase of some 600 tons of commodities, even in the first virtual interaction. Various challenges, such as quality parameters and gradation of commodities and storage, were discussed during interactions between agribusiness companies and FPOs. The discussion highlighted the need for a package of practices which could help FPOs align their output with market demands.
Mr. Rajesh Sharma of Reliance Retail stated, that “These practices would improve the focus on quality output, improve productivity and ensure better returns for the commodity.” This initiative is the first among many to improve market links between farmer producer organizations.
Sarah Marchand, director of CDC Plus, said, ‘With the outbreak of COVID, major changes were expected in our society and in the way value chain systems worked. We knew that we had corporations in our portfolio that could respond quickly and have an impact on the people we wanted to support. We are very pleased that this initiative has been supported and that Omnivore and Arya share our vision of integrating farmers and FPOs into the value chain of agribusiness and moving forward with an inclusive sector.’
‘Omnivore has always worked towards encouraging new technology in agriculture and ensuring that it reaches farmers on the ground for their economic growth. We are very hopeful that a lot of solutions can be developed with the coming together of farmer organizations and corporate houses and that we will continue to work towards impact,’ said Subhadeep Sanyal of Omnivore.
Ms. Sindhu Singh, a member of the participating FPO, shared her story about how with Arya’s support she could sell ₹ 15 lakh rice in 40 days to farmers at a great price – a win-win for both of them. She says, ‘I am very grateful to Arya for providing us with the right digital training to help us understand how markets work. Our FPO enabled us skip middlemen and get a price of ₹ 18 per kg instead of ₹ 12 per kg, the price that middlemen usually bought.’