Producer Collectives and Inclusive Value Chains

Producer Collectives and Inclusive Value Chains

Background :

Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) have emerged as a promising vector to sustain the agriculture-based livelihoods of the majority of our population.Various policy interventions by the Governments, both at Centre and State level, are now aimed at supporting such Producer Collectives (PCs) like earmarking funds for setting up & routing government procurements at Minimum Support Price through these PCs. However, it is disheartening to observe that once the farmer mobilization is over and the grant pertaining to formation of an FPO gets consumed, the FPO suddenly finds itself without any enabling ecosystem. Even the well-intentioned NGOs/Resource Institutions are not in a position to help as the latter themselves do not have any competency in running FPOs as business enterprises. Resultantly, most of the FPOs formed in all the States are dormant and the farmers’ are getting disillusioned.

There is a long felt need for a Centre of Excellence for FPOs (CoE-FPO) at National level to fill the void and make meaningful contributions to build, nurture and sustain the FPO ecosystem.

AFC’s involvement in FPO Initiative :

AFC has the proud privilege of having been entrusted to serve as the Management Support Group (MSG) to deliver a range of technical & management services to Small Farmer Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India in order to support the Ministry in the roll-out & monitoring of the FPO promotion program under RKVY and NFSM. This apart, AFC has also been engaged as Project Management Agency (PMA) for promotion of awareness generation for “Venture Capital Assistance Scheme for Agri Business Development” and “Equity Grant & Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme”, particularly intended to benefit the Farmer Producer Companies formed across the country.

Keeping in view AFC’s pioneering experience of handholding the FPO initiative in the country, we have decided to create an exclusive vertical for Producer Collectives and development of Inclusive Value Chains so as to enable integration of FPOs into agricultural value chains and mainstream markets. It is envisaged that the proposed CoE-FPO shall handhold and guide the FPOs so that FPOs can act as effective business enterprises working for socio-economic advancement of their members.

AFC intends to associate with the Department of Agriculture of State Governments for technical backstopping, trouble-shooting, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of ground work in order to bring in the required rigour in the FPOs promoted in the State.

The pioneering experience of AFC in handholding the FPO initiative, and its expertise right from conceptualization to implementation, can also be leveraged to service the delivery needs of the various stakeholders of the State Agri Department – to build sustainable models, scale up and to create an enabling venture habitat in the State which will lead to job creation and enhance livelihood options. The services of a technically sound and professional team will not only help in supplementing the efforts of the in-house team of the Agriculture Department but would also strengthen its reach and efforts.

Services Offered :

Technical Backstopping, Monitoring & Evaluation :

AFC India, which has the pioneering experience of handholding the FPO initiative, can provide technical backstopping and M&E services to State Agriculture Department to assess the progress made by the FPOs. The following services are envisaged:

  1. Ground level technical support towards implementation of Agriculture Department’s flagship schemes viz. Agri Cluster Development, Promotion of Farmers Producer Organizations (FPOs), Training and Capacity Building Programme for Farmers, Farm Production Systems and Micro Enterprises, etc.
  2. Technical and advisory services to facilitate connect with last mile stakeholders – farmer groups, financial institutions, block level departmental officials, etc.
  3. Physical and financial audit for various schemes and programmes of Agri and allied agri departments
  4. Technical backstopping and trouble-shooting during FPO monitoring/ assessment visits
  5. Preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for Farmer Groups/ FPOs for various agribusiness activities such as cold chain, marketing infrastructure, value addition and other PHM activities.
  6. Preparation of work plan on various aspects of FPO promotion programme, business planning for FPOs, strategies for market linkages
  7. Technical and management support for preparation, facilitation and organization of training programmes, events, workshops and review meetings across the country
  8. Monitoring, review and analysis of MIS for decision support and management update, ensuring flow of information across offices, partners and stakeholders
  9. Manage demand and supply of essential commodities as put forward to SFAC through FPOs
  10. Manage and operate helpline, problems, queries of FPOs, RIs and/or other stakeholders (if required) on phone, online or written.

Broad Features of Technical Backstopping, Monitoring & Evaluation :

Some of the broad features of the technical backstopping and monitoring, evaluation and learning systems are:

  1. Creation of a log-frame for assessment with detailed assessment visit plans and tailor-made reporting formats to enable the MSG team in evaluating the performance of the RIs and the maturity of the FPOs/ farmer institutions being built.
  2. Periodic field visits by technical experts to project area for monitoring progress
  3. Joint meeting with concerned stakeholders during such field visits
  4. Orientation to RI and concerned stakeholders at each stage of the process cycle for which monitoring will be undertaken
  5. Customized monitoring formats to assess deliverables as per timelines
  6. Real-time ground technical inputs to farmers groups and FPO promoting institutions for course correction, if necessary
  7. Data analytics for reporting real, measurable impact to the Department
  8. ICT tools to facilitate data validation and 3600 feedback mechanism to stakeholders and policy level decision making for SFAC
  9. Suggestions for customized capacity building and training programmes on governance, business plans, market linkages and credit infrastructure facilitation – based on ground evaluation
  10. Development of action plans for FPO promoting institutions based on ground progress
  11. Support in development of FPO business plans, as per need.
  12. Support and facilitation towards value addition and market linkages including buyer-seller meets and other similar events.
  13. Facilitation in drawing up contracts and agreements for FPOs with bulk buyers and retailers.
  14. Creation of e-commerce platforms for direct connect of farmers’ produce with the consumers and minimizing the number of intermediaries
  15. Creation of alternate physical markets to facilitate the sale of produce by farmer groups and FPOs in select locations in the country

Managing Events & Awareness Programmes :

  1. Technical and management support for preparation, facilitation and organization of training programmes, events, workshops and review meetings across the country
  2. Organize outreach programmes/ events to build awareness with various stakeholders on difference schemes of TNSFAC/ TN Agri Dept.
  3. Provide support for organizing seminars and conference in various states and regions to facilitate trade and business with relevant stakeholders.
  4. Organize buyer seller meets and interactive platforms for easing market linkages, knowledge sharing, capacity building of farmer groups and market players.

Monitoring FPO MIS for Decision Support :

  1. Monitoring, review and analysis of MIS for decision support and management update, ensuring flow of information across offices, partners and stakeholders
  2. Leveraging agronomic intelligence to provide farmers with information that allows them to customize solutions around their crops
  3. Aggregation of demand side of agri inputs and supply side of produce, for lowering input costs and better price realization for primary producers.
  4. Going forward, develop transformative new technology by integrating remote sensing service, machine learning, drone & aerial monitoring, weather advisory, cloud computing, big data analytics for providing customized crop solutions to farmer groups.

Manage Demand & Supply of Commodities :

  1. Manage demand and supply of essential commodities as put forward to SFAC through FPOs
  2. Development of transparent price discovery mechanisms, alternate markets for direct farmers to consumer connect, agri value chain and robust supply chain for various commodities
  3. On behalf of the TN Agri Department/ TN SFAC, manage the bulk procurement, buffer stock and price stabilization aspects of various crops such as pulses, staple grains and food crops, from time to time.