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‘Can Farmer Producer Companies be the Road to Agricultural Sustainability’?, 17th July, 2015.

‘Can Farmer Producer Companies be the Road to Agricultural Sustainability’?

by

Prof. A.V. Balasubramanian,
Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems,
Chennai.

Abstract:

Indian farmers in general and small and marginal farmers in particular, face several key constraints due to factors such as – dismantling / decreasing state and public support, increasing power of agribusiness, rising cost of credit, price volatility, competition, lack of infrastructure, lesser access to technical advice, credit and information asymmetry. A recent amendment to the companies Act in India makes it possible for Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) (including cooperatives) to register themselves as a – “Producer Company” (PC). A PC is a hybrid between a private limited company and a cooperative. It offers major advantages with possibilities for increased scale, collectivization and cooperation. The Government and banking agencies are offering support in various ways for the setting up and strengthening of PCs recognising that they can combine business and social objectives. The major problems being faced by PCs are

  1. Non-familiarity with the legal and regulatory framework and governance.
  2. Taking care of the interest of small and marginal farmers and balancing business and social objectives.
  3. Putting in place a governance system which is participatory, complies with the law, transparent, equitable, effective and accountable.

During the first 10 year period (2002 – 2011) there were about 200 PCs registered all over India. However, during the last three years (2012 – 2014) there has been a big boom and nearly 1000 new PCs that have been formed. More than 50% of the 1200 PCs now in existence are in the four States of – Maharashtra (249), Uttar Pradesh (169), Madhya Pradesh (129) and Tamil Nadu (100). This talk will outline the reasons for the growth, challenges being faced, the opportunities and the roles that are being currently played and could be played by the various stakeholders.

Speaker:

Mr. A.V. Balasubramanian had his formal training in Biochemistry and Biophysics having studied at the Bangalore University and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, as well as at the State University of New York at Stonybrook. Since 1982 he has been involved in work relating to various aspects of traditional Indian Sciences and technologies and trying to explore their current relevance and potential. Currently he is the Director of the Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems, Chennai – an institution devoted to exploring the contemporary relevance and applications of Indian Knowledge Systems, particularly in the area of sustainable agriculture.

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