Ludhiana – National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Punjab Regional Office today organised a function in Pal Auditorium of Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana to launch a state-wide Awareness Campaign on promotion of Farmers Producers Organisations in Punjab. The campaign was formally launched by Hon’ble Governor, Punjab, Mr VP Singh Badnore.
Mr. Viswajeet Khanna, Additional Chief Secretary (Development) and Financial Commissioner (Development) Punjab, Dr. BS Dhillon, VC, PAU, Mrs. Rachna Dixit, Regional Director, Reserve Bank of India Chandigarh, Mr. JM Balamurugan, IAS, Secretary to Governor, Punjab, Mr. JPS Bindra, Chief General Manager, NABARD were also present on the occasion.
While addressing the gathering, Mr JPS Bindra indicated that NABARD has demonstrated that farmers’ collectives, especially comprising of small and marginal farmers, in the form of FPOs can be effective in enhancing farmers’ income and boosting the agriculture growth. These FPOs are being promoted in a cluster mode in a big way all over the country through coordinated efforts of all the stakeholders like NABARD, Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, GoI, State Government and other partner agencies. In this regard, a focussed programme is being implemented by NABARD through dedicated financial support for promotion and financing of FPOs in the country. NABARD has so far promoted 4,004 FPOs across 29 states out of which 91 FPOs are in state of Punjab.
During his address, the Hon’ble Governor lauded NABARD’s efforts for promotion of farmers collectives for agricultural development and working towards the national priority of goal of doubling of farmers income. He observed that agricultural development had reached a plateau and there was need of agriculturists to adopt new models which made backward and forward linkages more efficient in favour of farmers. He was of the view that FPOs had a big role to play in diversification from paddy-wheat rotation towards other more lucrative crops.
Mr. Viswajeet Khanna, highlighted the issues faced by agriculture sector of Punjab and believed that FPOs can be a game changer towards sustainable agriculture in state. He opined that through FPOs input costs can be rationalised in favour of farmers and this would also shift the balance towards farmers vis-à-vis increased share of profits. Thus, if we were to maximise profitability from farming, the traditional way of individualistic farming needed to shift towards a collective mode. He observed that, as FPOs have legal stature, it was better suited run agriculture as business enterprises.
Mr. JPS Bindra informed that NABARD has embarked upon to launch a State-wide awareness campaign on FPO promotion in Punjab during 2018-19, and 3000 programmes will be held in cluster of 2-3 villages each in all districts of the state. Among the participants, Producer Organisation Promoting Institutes (POPIs), FPO directors told their journeys, struggles and achievements of FPOs. Few FPOs promoted by NABARD from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh also showcased their products namely honey, turmeric, shakkar, jaggery, pulses, etc. in exhibition during the event.
Also, a booklet titled “Farmers Producers Organisations in Punjab” was released by dignitaries highlighting success stories of FPOs in state. More than 300 farmers from different districts which included members of Farmers Clubs, FPOs, etc.