Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC)
Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC)
Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is a society that is promoted by the Department of Agriculture, Government of India, as a nodal agency to coordinate with various State Governments, civil society partners, financial institutions, private sectors, resource individuals and other stakeholders. The society assists with the conduct of baseline studies promoting FPOs across the country and link producer groups with marketing opportunities.
The objectives of SFAC is to
- Mobilize farmers in groups with 15-20 members at the village level and build their associations (FPOs) at an appropriate federating point, to plan and implement product specific cluster/commercial crop cycles.
- Strengthen farmer capacity through agricultural practises for enhancing productivity.
- Ensure access and usage of quality inputs and services for intensive agriculture cluster competitiveness.
- Facilitate access to fair and remunerative markets that includes linking producer groups to marketing opportunities by market aggregators.
The project intends to collectivize farmers and small producers at various levels across the nation to improve productivity, foster technology penetration, enable improved access to inputs and services and increase farmers income that eventually strengthens agriculture-based livelihoods. SFAC also involves linking producer groups directly to market aggregators to enable the integration of the agriculture value chain and bring agri produce using capable market aggregators directly to consumers.
The major components of the project cover the following.
- Conducting baseline studies
- Build and nurture farmers’ groups at the primary and apex level
- Planning and implementing agriculture-based livelihood initiatives that are aimed at productivity enhancement
- Formation and development of Producer Association/Kisan Producer Company/Cooperative for market linkage and obtain extension and knowledge services
- Linking producer groups to marketing opportunities through market aggregators
Promotion of Farmer Producer Organizations
The project aims to mobilize farmers into producer collectives. The standard structure multiples Farmer Interest Groups (FIGs) among 20-25 members at the village level. This a flexible format that can be adapted by local conditions to accommodate ground relatives. However, each project intervention mobilizes at least 5000 producers per district to facilitate large scale demonstration and achieve economies of scale. FIGs select their principles to focus on using technology transfer, inputs, credit and marketing by promoting agency.
After stabilizing the FIGs to a Kisan Producer Company, or other institutional form depending on their preference in every cluster, 1000 farmers (approx.) would be federated in each institution. This body becomes the formalized local institution of farmers to address issues of agribusiness and agriculture extension. A trained team of agribusiness professionals that are recruited by FPO helps them to plan their business and implement it.
Agriculture based technology introduction, validation and adoption are the key strategies to bring in positive change in the livelihood status of producers that are linked to the FPOs. The basic methodology that is followed in this regard would be the ATMA pattern of establishing Farm Schools, that are considered as participatory learning platforms for farmers with technical support by the project promoters. The aim is to install technology upgrade mechanisms within the farming community through FPO on a sustainable basis. Once the farmer organizations acquire scale and confidence, they would be assisted with services such as networking, DPR preparation, seeling VCA from SFAC for investment in technology, infrastructure and value addition.
The following are eligible to participate in this project.
- Any public or private sector institution
- Any institution that is registered as trust, society or cooperative.
On the condition that
- The institution should have completed at least five years of functioning as on 1st April 2011.
- There are audited financial reports for the last four years.
- The institution has direct experience in promoting member based farmers producer institution in India at least for the last three years and experience of agricultural related livelihood issues that include technology, marketing, training etc. Previous project experience would be substantiated with copies of work order, letters etc.
- There are well-experienced staffs with direct experience of farmer institution building and agriculture-based livelihoods.
- The institution should not be black-listed by any Central or State agency.
- It complies with all necessary laws and statues on the date of application.
- Refundable Earnest Money of Rs. 10,000 is submitted in the form of a demand draft that has to be paid to SFAC, New Delhi.
The activities that are proposed in this project are as follows.
- Training, exposure and several capacity building interventions for FPOs and LRPs.
- Agriculture based livelihood interventions such as trial and demonstration of Good Agriculture Practises (seed production and dissemination, INM, IPM, pre and post-sowing practises, replacement of varieties etc.)
- Formation and development of Kisan Producer Company or other institutional forms that include awareness building, federating, drafting the constitution, registration of a company, develop and establish system and procedures that are related to administration, accounts, HR, develop a business plan and implementation, statutory compliance etc.
Role of Market Aggregators
The institutions/entities that are identified to play the role of market aggregators also seek empanelment for promotion of FPOs. However, they have to show how producer groups would be linked to the market. Empanelment of institutions that are focused on institution building is limited to mobilizing and training only FPOs.
SFAC identifies suitable civil society, private sector and State level partners in each target State through a process of empanelment concerning open bidding to promote new FPOs and strengthen the already existing ones. The preferred locations to plan the intervention would be decided after consulting with the concerned State Governments. Nevertheless, the final choice to select institution would be decided by the State Government. The entire cost of FPO mobilization and training is passed on to the selected promoting partner as grant-in-aid by SFAC, subject to the achievement of pre-agreed outputs and milestones in a given timeframe.
- Increased agriculture productivity
- Assured food security to target families
- Market linkage for backward and forward integration would be ensured with a competitive market, and there will be at least 30-40% savings/gain at the farmer’s level
- There will be additional employment generated due to increased intensity of farming
- There would be sub-sector development for agriculture like organic fertilizer production, aggregation of produce and primary processing, seed production, poultry production etc. All these contribute to energizing the local economy for the multiplier effect
- Social capital that would be built in the form of FPOs
- Federating FPO into producer company/cooperative that weaves the primary groups together and carries a collective bargaining power. The leadership role of producers in technology absorption
- Benefits in terms of reduction in migration, improved food and nutritional security etc. that reduces social conflicts, risks and enhances the welfare at the household level.