Farmer producers reaping rich dividends in Dindigul

‘10,000 farmers from 294 villages in the district have so far benefited’

About four years ago, a few hundred farmers from Senthurai near here floated Kurinji Farmer Producer Company (FPC) after NABARD gave them the much-needed support, including financing.

Initially, the small and marginal farmers did not have any clue about the functioning of a company or the rules and regulations to be followed. They, however, evinced interest after interactions with officials who explained them everything about the functioning of a company.

Soon, regular sensitisation programmes and awareness workshops conducted by the officials witnessed positive signs from farmers. The farmers, after giving a name to the company, identified a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as mandated by laws.

The objective of floating the FPC was to do away with middlemen, give collective bargaining power and direct sale of their commodities to buyers, said Assistant General Manager Balachandran here on Sunday.

Speaking to The Hindu, a few of the directors of Kurinji FPC and CEO P. Thirupathi Raja said they had repaid a loan of ₹1 crore which was given to them by NAB-KISAN without any collateral security. “Now, we are a company with high credibility and integrity,” they said.

The farmers said 10,000 farmers from 294 villages in the district had so far benefited.

The officials also said out of the 304 FPCs promoted in Tamil Nadu, 20 were in Dindigul and 14 among them were supported by NABARD.

Like Kurinji FPC, Mr. Balachandran said, they had Ayyampalayam FPC in Athoor where the members had grown coconut. Usually, the farmers either sold their produce to middlemen at a price quoted by them or sold them at rock bottom price to wholesale merchants, who helped them by extending advance for procuring fertilisers.

Today, the members of Ayyampalayam FPC sell coconut oil as a value addition. With assistance from Agricultural Engineering Department, they had set up infrastructure for extracting oil. The turnover was around ₹80 lakh, NABARD officials said.

Similarly, Ayakudi village in the district which is famous for guava cultivation has an FPC and the farmers have been getting support from Poducers’ Organisation Promoting Institutions (POPI).

The farmers expressed satisfaction over the support from the Central government institution as they had eliminated middlemen. Many of the farmers were familiar with online trading and market rules. The younger ones had downloaded free apps in their mobile phones with which they were monitoring prices of commodities sold in markets, the officials said.

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