Walmart Foundation is supporting a Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) project, implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation, to assist small and marginal farmers in Kolar, Karnataka, by providing agricultural machinery that will bolster their crop productivity, reduce drudgery, and facilitate timeliness of agricultural operations. Five multi-crop threshers, five power weeders (5HP), five mulching paper spreaders, one tractor trolley, one tractor-mounted 2,000 lit boom sprayers have been distributed to five FPOs to strengthen and establish a Custom Hiring Center (CHC) in each of the five FPOs. In each CHC, the machines and implements can be provided by the FPOs to small and marginal farmers on a rental basis at a subsidized rate. Thus farmers are helped and FPOs have a sustained source of income.
Representatives of the five FPOs went on an exposure visit in conjunction with Mulkanoor Cooperative Society in Warangal, National Institute of Agricultural Management (MANAGE) in Hyderabad, and National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) Hyderabad. The goal of the visit was to understand and learn about the genesis of the project and share the struggles encountered by FPOs and their input and output business models. Also included was a diary visit led by women farmers. On the second day of the exposure visit, FPO members visited MANAGE, where MANAGE FPO director, Dr. K.C. Gummagolmath, interacted with farmers and enlightened them on improving their FPO structures and the role and responsibilities of FPO members and the board of directors (BODs). Also discussed was how to leverage Farmer Producer Companies for agribusiness. The FPO members later visited a NIRD stall with information on advance agriculture technologies.
(Report shared by Shruchi Singh, program lead, Farmer Producer Organization)