EWOK is an initiative of IIT Mandi Women's Center to help rural women set up small enterprises in five panchayats of Kamand, Kataula, Katindhi, Batheri and Navlaya in Mandi by providing them guidance, training and information.
IIT Mandi and Enabling Women of Kamand (EWOK) Society have signed a tripartite pact with the National Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development (NABARD) for setting up three FPOs in Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi district. NABARD has sanctioned an amount of Rs 35 lakhs to IIT Mandi and EWOK Society for three Farmer Producer Organisation (FPOs) to be established in the next three years, IIT Mandi said in a statement.
EWOK is an initiative of IIT Mandi Women’s Center to help rural women set up small enterprises in five panchayats of Kamand, Kataula, Katindhi, Batheri and Navlaya in Mandi by providing them guidance, training and information. As per a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the three parties, IIT Mandi and EWOK Society will identify clusters for setting up FPOs, help establish and register FPOs, train the CEO and Board of Directors of FPOs, besides preparing the business development plan and assisting them in raising credit.
Apart from setting up FPOs, the institute will provide its expertise in tourism, rural marts run by Self-Help Groups (SHGs), engineering solutions for farm-friendly equipment, research on impact of climate change on agri incomes, among others, the statement added. The MoU was signed by IIT Mandi’s Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy (SRIC) Dean Venkata Krishnan, EWOK Society Secretary Sandhya Menon and NABARD Chief General Secretary Nilay Kapoor on February 22.
“I am sure our collaboration will go a long way in solving the problems of farmers of the state and achieving the dream of doubling of farmers’ income,” Kapoor said. Menon said, “The support from NABARD has come at the right time in order to scale up these programmes to ensure a sustainable model in income generation for farmers in the long run in this area.” In the coming years, EWOK will play its role to form FPOs and guide in building their business activity and market linkages, she said, adding that the society will continue to focus on skills development and increasing income of women and families in the surrounding rural areas, especially through entrepreneurship. A FPO is a group of farm producers, with members as shareholders in an organisation. It is a registered body which deals with business activities related to farm produce and works for the benefit of the member producers.
In April 2013, the central government had issued a National Policy on formation of FPOs. The policy encouraged state governments to provide incentives, including credits for formation and support of ongoing operation of FPOs in various states. Through FPOs, farmers get better collective strength for access to quality inputs, technology, credit and better marketing access through economies of scale.
Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) granted approval for setting up 10,000 FPOs by 2024.