SKI’s first Touchpoint session was conducted by the Agriculture Practice Area, on the theme ‘Strengthening Farmer Producer Organisations’.
The session was facilitated by Debaranjan Pujahari (Principal and Agriculture Practice Area Lead). He was joined in conversation by renowned development management professional and practitioner, Mr Suryamani Roul (Director, Global AgriSystem).
The webinar focused on unpacking the multiple challenges faced by FPOs:
- Low participation of women: only 2.4% female members
- Limited share capitalisation: roughly 25% of FPOs can increase paid-up capital
- Lack of engagement with the farmer community: about 15-20% of farmers engage with FPOs
- Low turnover: only 5% have a turnover more than Rs 1 crore.
Speaking about the current FPO ecosystem, the experts highlighted that it involves a number of players including national organisations, regional organisations and various non-governmental organisations, which contribute towards capacity building and funding. Further, the core issues in capacity building of FPOs constitute a lack of business acumen among the leadership of the FPOs, lack of an in-house management team and a high dependency on external promoting agencies and limited training and capacity-building programmes.
It emerged from the discussion that FPO capacity building, based on an underlying life-cycle approach could address these issues. Since 2021, over 750 resource institutions have been working to improve around 16,000 FPOs. Mr Roul stated that while it takes years to bring strength and capacity in the process, a regularised action-reflection model of capacity building is imperative. Such a model would entail a regular assessment of the programme and its progress through timely reflection. Along with this, it would also be important to bring in sectoral experts and leverage their skills for improving the efficiency of FPOs.
The webinar concluded with a round of Q&A, where questions revolved around structural issues of FPOs, resources required for them to flourish and the role of FPOs in increasing farmer incomes. Our experts drew from their rich experience to share their learnings.
If you missed the session, you can access the recording of the webinar here: