Amit Shah to inaugurate mega conclave on July 14 to strengthen Primary Agriculture Credit Societies

New Delhi, July 10: Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah will inaugurate a day-long mega conclave strengthening Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACS) through Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) here in the national capital on July 14.

The conclave is aimed at discussing ways to strengthen PACS through FPOs, said the Ministry of Cooperation, adding that “the conclave will witness the participation of experts from the sector as well as members from the FPOs across the country.” The mega conclave is being organized by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Cooperation.

Being collective entities formed by farmers, enabling them to pool resources and enhance their bargaining power, the FPOs are one of the major vehicles for agricultural transformation. In order to realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of “Sahkar se Samriddhi” and with the efforts of Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah, recently a decision was taken to form 1,100 New FPOs in Cooperative Sector.

With an important initiative of the Ministry of Cooperation Ministry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare recently allocated additional blocks to NCDC to form and promote 1,100 FPOs in Cooperative Sector through the strengthening of PACS under the scheme to bolster the cooperative sector and provide comprehensive support to small and marginal farmers.

Under the FPOs Scheme, financial assistance of Rs 33 lakh is provided to each FPO. Further, financial assistance of Rs 25 lakh per FPO is given to the Cluster-Based Business Organizations (CBBOs) for promoting and handholding the FPOs.

FPOs are being touted as playing a crucial role in making farming sustainable, promoting livelihoods, and improving the overall quality of life of those dependent on agriculture. They help small and marginal farmers/producers access better prices, reduce transportation costs, and enhance overall productivity.

The government has been pushing for integration of the PACS in the FPO scheme to enable the farmers to expand their business range of activities such as the supply of production inputs; agricultural equipment like cultivators, tillers, harvesters, etc. and processing and value addition, including cleaning, assaying, sorting, grading, packing, storage, and transportation.

The PACS has a huge member base of around 13 crore farmers who are primarily engaged in short-term credit and distribution of seeds and fertilizers. Presently, more than 86 per cent of farmers in the country are small and marginal.

Since, there is a need to facilitate these farmers with access to improved technology, credit, better inputs, and more markets to incentivize them to produce better quality commodities, the Government has already taken steps to encourage the farmers associated with the PACS to form FPOs.

In this regard, the Central Sector Scheme “Formation and Promotion of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) was launched under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

The NCDC is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Cooperation with the mandate to plan, promote, and finance cooperatives for increasing production and productivity and instituting post-harvest facilities.

During the Financial Year 2022-23, the NCDC disbursed Rs 41,031.39 crore in different sectors, including agriculture processing, weaker sections, computerization of cooperatives, service, credit, youth cooperatives, and others. 

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