Sahyadri Farms, the farmer producer company (FPC) set up by Agricultural engineer Vilas Shinde in 2011, has at present become the largest FPC in the country, with a membership of 8,000 farmers and a turnover of Rs 300 crore. It is India’s largest grape exporting company and has overtaken Mahindra Agribusiness.
For direct sourcing of fruits and vegetables from Sahyadri Farms the Kishore Biyani’s Future Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with it for its supermarket chain Big Bazaar, triggering hope among many policymakers that the FPC model will attain huge profits where traditional solutions have failed. It will help India in overcoming the agrarian case and doubling farmers’ incomes.
“Department of agriculture and cooperation, ministry of agriculture, Govt. of India has identified farmer producer organisations registered under the special provisions of the Companies Act 1956 as the most appropriate institutional form around which to mobilise farmers and build their capacity to collectively leverage their production and marketing strength.” the preamble of National Policy for Promotion of farmer-producer organisations stated.
Regardless of major efforts by the government over the past 15 years, the country has just about 3,000 FPCs so far, which was set up by Nabard, Small Farmers’ Agri-business Consortium or individual initiatives. Some of them have been formed by landless women, labourers or marginal farmers.
The National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) has taken steps to make FPCs reach the height of success. But still FPCs are faced with a number of problems such as the lengthy process of registering a company, unavailability of collateral-free loan at lower rate of interest and absence of leadership and business awareness.
Sahyadri Farms acts as the parent umbrella FPC while having direct membershiping rights. By raising the number of farmers who are associated with it, Sahyadri Farms has considered FPCs as its members. These FPCs normally produce a single commodity with 2,000-3,000 farmers each.