Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) in Maharashtra are getting competitive. These FPCs have come together to establish an independent marketing infrastructure facility in Latur — a key agricultural region in the state for trading in pulses and soyabean.
MahaFPC and Latur District Farmer Producers Company, through a public-private partnership model, have identified a five-acre plot in Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) in Latur to set up a silo structure for storage of soyabean initially and pulses at a later stage.
MahaFPC is the apex body of farmer producer companies in Maharashtra.
MahaFPC managing director Yogesh Thorat said this decision was taken at a recent meeting of 91 farmer producer companies at Latur.
“Often FPCs have to rely on state infrastructure and warehousing for their needs. FPCs have been operating in a decentralised mode at the village level and lack marketing muscle. Therefore, we decided to get together to correct this and establish infrastructure of our own,” he said.
Latur is a major market in Asia for processing of pulses and soyabean. Therefore, a decision was taken to begin with soyabean this kharif season and move on to pulses.
“Through this effort, FPCs can collectively store the commodity procured from the market and offer it to processors based on their requirements directly and also get into inter-state trade in addition to providing warehousing receipts to farmers. This will increase our bargaining capacity as well,” Thorat said.
The entire project is estimated at `40 crore and the first silo is expected to cost `10 crore. To fund this, around 100 FPCs would come together to raise equity and put in `10 lakh each, he said. The FPCs then planned to tap the World Bank Smart project for more funds, he said.
The Latur APMC reports daily arrivals of soyabean to the tune of 2,000 quintals to 2,500 quintal per day. The region has around 125 FPCs and neighbouring Osmanabad has another 100 FPCs.
A marketing effort of this nature could create an alternate system to APMC and challenge such markets in the state, he said. The file for the land would be submitted next week and we expected a quick response from MIDC, he said.
Earlier, the Maharashtra government had asked the state’s industrial development corporation, MIDC, to allot land from its pool ‘on a priority basis’ to farmer producer companies (FPCs) to set up manufacturing or commercial units related to farming. Under the scheme, MIDC will give land on a priority basis in C and D zones to FPCs, while the rates will be market-linked.
In C zones, the FPCs would have to submit a project report envisaging investment of at least `20 crore and in D zones, the investment threshold is Rs 10 crore. The objective of the scheme is to encourage investments in backward areas and also promote agricultural allied activities in these areas. A delegation of FPCs under the banner of MAHAFPC had submitted some demands of FPCs to the minister, following which the decision to allocate plots to FPCs in MIDC was announced.
Yogesh Thorat had earlier said both the Centre and the state governments are promoting FPOs/FPCs as strategic institutions for boosting the agro-industrial activities. Therefore, there is a need to frame policies for supporting FPO/FPCs. Until now, the role of farmer was up to the production of the crop. But there is a whole array of post-harvesting activities and marketing that the farmer could be involved in and such agro-clusters would encourage FPCs to come forward and enter allied activities, Thorat highlighted.
MahaFPC would be looking at primary and secondary processing, logistics, warehousing and cold storage, among others.
MahaFPC has already entered the inter-state route to gain access to newer markets. The farmer body federation has signed an agreement with the Kerala State Horticultural Products Development Corporation to supply onion and pulses to Kerala.
MahaFPC has traded at least 5,000 tonne of onions outside the state through this route. MahaFPC has entered into a joint venture with the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) to develop a value chain for onion procurement.