Rishiwat Farmers’ Producers’ Company: Empowering Small and Marginal Farmers

The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Karda, Washim, Maharashtra established the Farmers’ Producers’ Company (FPCs) - Rishiwat Farmers’ Producers’ Company Ltd. (RFPCL) in 2016. The KVK mainly works in cluster approach in its adopted villages through formation of Technology Transfer Clubs (TTCs).

Rishiwat Farmers’ Producers’ Company: Empowering Small and Marginal Farmers  Rishiwat Farmers’ Producers’ Company: Empowering Small and Marginal Farmers

More than 750 mobilized farmers in the village level Farmers’ Interest Groups (FIGs) from the Lead Crop Project (funded by NABARD) were federated and accommodated as shareholders in the RFPCL.

The Washim District, being one of the “Aspirational Districts” in Maharashtra as identified by the NITI Aayog, is predominantly agriculturist in which around 3.85 lakhs population out of total rural population of 9.85 lakhs is indulged in agriculture as the main livelihood activity. Out of the total land holding, around 22 % is accounted for by Marginal and 37 % by Small farmers. The small and marginal farmers do not have economic strength to adopt production technologies, services and marketing including value-addition.

Rishiwat Farmers’ Producers’ Company: Empowering Small and Marginal FarmersThe non-availability of quality seed of improved varieties in the District and lack of technical know-how, improved technology’s adoption, timely availability of agricultural inputs, access to extension services & markets have been some of the major challenges being faced by the farmers.

To overcome the above problems, the RFPCL is undertaking seed production of major crops and equipping their shareholders to become certified seed producers. Growing certified improved seed is a profitable business enterprise for the RFPCL.

The formation of RFPCL by the farmers had a better collective strength for better access to quality input, technology, credit and better marketing access. It has also enhanced the bargaining power and farm related value accruals. Around 50% of the profit from the RFPCL goes to farmers, 10% is utilized for the operational cost and 40% for its quality improvement & infrastructure development.

Apart from business activity, RFPCL has trained more than 3,000 farmers on good agricultural practices since the last four years. It has enabled the shareholder seed producers to produce enough seed for their own consumption and sell it to the other farmers to meet the expenses. The seed production has helped the growers with an access to new varieties. The growing of certified seed is a profitable enterprise which faces 10 % additional price than MSP of the major crops.

The RFPCL has made vast quantities of seeds available to the neighboring and far away farmers. To meet the seed demand of farmers during the lockdown period, the RFPCL initiated the dropping of seed bags at farmers’ doorsteps and provided them with seed on time for planting. It has also made the other critical agricultural inputs and soil testing services available to the farmers. Now, the increasing number of farmers’ membership is reflecting their support and confidence in it.

(Source: Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Karda, Washim, Maharashtra)