Shalini Kul, chairman, of Jeevan Sangini, says it has been a tough journey for them so far but reaching the capital will also open up new markets for the women who have not even dreamt of venturing out of their homes. The aim is to lend dignity to women farmers and when the concept of FPC was explained by one of the NGOs operating in our district, we decided to take the plunge, she said.
Around 59 odd women farmer groups were formed and inputs are being provided through these group leaders, she explained. Crop advisories through SMS are also being provided through the team leaders.
Ashish Naphade of the Krushi Vikas Va Gramin Prashikshan Sanstha, an NGO operating in this area that has been instrumental in bringing women farmers together, says around 1,153 marginal and small women's farmers from 12 villages are part of the company and the goal is to increase the membership to 2000 members by the year 2017.
The total area under these women comes upto 3,500 hectares and cotton, soyabean, maize and tur dal are the major crops cultivated in these parts.
"All of these women are farmers who actually work in the fields and have become active decisionmakers in their families after becoming a part of the farmer producer company. None of the men in the families are permitted to attend these meetings and women have begun taking decisions with regard to seed quality, fertilisers and cropping patterns after coming here," Kul said.
The company thought of branding its pulses so that it can make a name nationally and also tap large retail chains for growth.
Talks are in progress with some retail chains, she said.
The company aims to strengthen its presence in the state and will soon reach out to consumers in Pune and Mumbai as well.
Shriram Gadhave, president, Vegetable Growers
Association of India (VGAI), says around 40 farmer
producer companies from across the country should be participating in the Kisan Mandi.
Trial runs for the Mandi may begin soon and talks are in progress with officials of the Small Farmers AgriBusiness Consortium (SFAC) for a suitable location for the market, he said.
This particular farmer producer company is interesting because women farmers have decided to venture out of the state for the first time, he said,
The company recently registered itself with the NCDEX and began purchasing pulses from this February making a profit of R600 per quintal resulting in a total profit of R50 lakh, Naphade said.
There are plans to open marketing outlets where agriculture inputs can be given to farmers and the daily needs can also be supplied at one location, he said.
The company has approached the World Bank aided Maharashtra Agriculture Competitiveness Project ( MACP) for funds. There are plans to tap funds through CSR activities of companies as well.