Amid farmers’ agitation, UP to invest Rs 722 crore in agri start-ups
Amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation, the UP govt has planned to invest more than Rs 722 crore in rural agri marketing start-ups, popularly referred to as FPOs. The UP FPO blueprint is estimated to benefit 2.7 million small and marginal farmers by enhancing their bargaining power for the bulk sale of farm produce at the designated public and private sector mandis.
Amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation, the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government has planned to invest more than Rs 722 crore in rural agri marketing start-ups, popularly referred to as Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs).
The UP FPO blueprint is estimated to benefit 2.7 million small and marginal farmers by enhancing their bargaining power for the bulk sale of farm produce at the designated public and private sector mandis.
Ahead of the crucial 2022 UP assembly elections, this will also help the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to counter the narrative of stirring farmers that the new central farm laws will ultimately lead to dwindling farm income and possible rescinding of the minimum support price (MSP) altogether. Although the central and state governments have tried to assuage such opinions, yet the agitating farmers led by Rakesh Tikait have not softened their stance.
Under the Self-Reliant Farmer Integrated Development Scheme launched by UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, a total of 2,725 FPOs will be formed in the next five years with the overarching aim of reducing the farm input cost and will propel rural incomes.
In the current financial year 2021-22, the UP government has earmarked Rs 100 crore to invest in the FPO landscape to augment rural resources at every level from farm to market.
“The objective is to set up at least one FPO in every block to boost the income of farmers,” a UP agriculture department official said here. At present, 693 FPOs are operating in 408 of the total 824 blocks in UP.
The FPOs facilitate the sale of farm produce at lucrative prices directly to traders, companies and those engaged in contract farming. On average, 500-1,000 farmers are associated as share members with every FPO.
Under the scheme, farmers associated with FPOs will get a subsidy of 4 per cent on a loan of Rs 5 lakh that will be given per year to cluster-based business organizations for five years for forming FPOs. Newly formed FPOs will get Rs 6 lakh for three years.
“Loans will be provided to FPOs for the creation of post-harvest infra facilities at the rate of 3 per cent. This will additionally create about 3,000 jobs every year,” the official claimed.
The central government agencies, UP Diversified Agriculture Support Project (DASP), Horticulture Federation, qualified FPOs and voluntary organizations will work in tandem for the formation of FPOs.
Besides, a plan of Rs 140 crore has been prepared for the creation of post-harvest storage and management infrastructure in 27 mandis of the Krishi Utpadan Mandi Parishad.