While the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has supported over 4,000 farmer producer organisations (FPOs), the government is seeking increased private sector participation to support more farmer producer groups and link them with markets, Union Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.
“While many state governments and even the private sector is supporting FPOs, we need to expedite these efforts, we had also called a meeting for the same in the ministry which was attended by top private players including Haldiram and ITC,” said Singh while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM Exhibition and Conference on Food Value Chain Partnerships.
Highlighting that farmers cannot get adequate price for their produce without value addition, he stated that adding value to the farm produce would make agriculture a remunerative proposition.
Noting that there is a huge opportunity for conversion of farm produce into value added products, Singh said, “Focusing on value addition, processing, end-to-end management, input and output management, marketing and all these aspects would go a long way in realising government’s commitment towards increase farmers’ income.”
Talking about government’s achievements in farm sector, the Union Minister said that there is more awareness amid farmers countrywide about agricultural schemes floated during the tenure of present government.
“Earlier we used to only hear talks about cold storage but it is in these past four years that we have strengthened the cold chain infrastructure and up to 24,000 pack houses have come up, earlier this concept was not even imagined,” said Singh.
He also informed that initiatives taken under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana have started yielding results as people on a large scale are reaping benefits from the same. “It is also playing a significant role in development of mega food parks and value chain as we have done away with the various discrepancies that were there earlier.”
Sharing his perspective, ASSOCHAM’s secretary general, Uday Kumar Varma said that food value chains can be more effective when enterprises involved in value chain can agree on a set of mission values like farm viability, farm-land preservation, access to healthy food along with sustainable production practices and set of shared operational values such as accountability, long-term commitment, open and on-going communication and transparency, and use them as a means to differentiate and add value to the products they are offering to their customers.
Raju Kapoor, director, FMC Corporation suggested that government, regulators, farmers and other stakeholders must work in tandem to make food value chain management more effective for benefit of Indian farmers.
Amid others who addressed the conference included – Rene Van Berkel, UNIDO Representative in India and Dr H.P. Singh, chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council on Agriculture and Food Security.