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CSR News – Nabard seeks help of CSR arms to support farmer produce organisations in Gujarat

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With a view to further extend support to farmer produce organisations (FPOs) in Gujarat, the Ahmedabad branch of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) is in talks with CSR arms of major industrial houses including Reliance, Tata and Ambuja.
Nabard is already giving financial assistance of up to ₹16 lakh to FPOs that includes training to FPO members, business plans to sell their agriculture produce and others things, said Dinesh Raina, general manager, Nabard, Ahmedabad, adding that to provide bigger platforms to FPOs in the state the bank is in advance stages of talk with Reliance Foundation managed by Reliance Industries, Ambuja Cement as well as Tata Consultancy Services for Rural Development (TCSRD).
“With the help of these conglomerates, the members (farmers) of FPOs can sell their produce in bigger markets. Their products can be sold in retail chains of Reliance. Moreover, innovative techniques of digital marketing can be beneficial to farmers. Their other requirements, including effective transportation, cold storage facility etc., can be fulfilled through involvement of corporates,” said Raina.
An FPO is formed by a group of farmers to collectively sell their agriculture produce. Nabard encourages such initiatives and train farmers for business activities related to farm produce and provide a grant of up to ₹ 11 lakh for three years. If the FPO performs well, Nabard will give further assistance of ₹5 lakh. Minimum 50 farmers can form an FPO. Some of the FPOs in Gujarat are having members’ strength exceeding even 1,000. Generally, FPOs are registered as cooperative societies in Gujarat. Nabard also encourages FPOs to appoint a qualified CEO and also pay his salary for up to five years.
Currently, there are 190 active FPOs in Gujarat and another 15 may be added by the end of the current fiscal year, said Raina, adding that because of FPOs farmers’ income increased and profit earned through business activities is being shared as divided among them.

Source: Financial Express