Agri Business

Maharashtra farmers exploring partnerships with corporates

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on February 12, 2021

MahaFPC has already launched the country’s first onion storage in PPP mode

Maharashtra Farmers Producer Company (MahaFPC), a consortium of about 400 FPCs in the State, is exploring partnerships and joint ventures with corporate houses even as debates and discussions on new farm laws continue.

The MahaFPC has already launched India’s first onion storage and marketing infrastructure through the public-private-partnership (PPP) model. Yogesh Thorat, MD, MahaFPC, told BusinessLine it is high time farmers looked at equitable partnerships and not a subsidy to survive.

“There is no option for small farmers than to form FPCs and corporate bodies will have to deal with FPCs. Corporate bodies would not be interested in production-centric operations but in infrastructure and value chain development. We are looking for investment-centric partnerships and joint ventures. This is the way to move forward,” said Thorat adding that the onion experiment has boosted the confidence of farmers.

MahaFPC, a profit-making association helping multi-commodity growers, has developed onion storage and marketing infrastructure through 25 partner FPCs with a joint partnership with National Agricultural Marketing Federation of India (Nafed). This project has direct ownership of 2,500 farmers and benefits 25,000 onion producers through inter-state trade, linkages with corporate buyers and retail chains.

This is a first of its kind of project wherein warehousing and marketing facilities for perishable commodities have been developed in PPP mode.

‘Unfounded fears’

A section of farmers opposing new farm laws has alleged that big corporates will reap the benefits of reforms and farmers will be left high and dry.

“Farmers and farming has to be competitive,” said Thorat adding that fear that big corporates will take over agriculture is unfounded. MahaFPC is also planning a non-banking financial company to help farmers to develop agriculture infrastructure, value chain management and easy access to liquidity.

Thorat added that in last few months out-of-mandi trade has attracted farmers who are selling their produce to private players through FPCs.

According to Vilas Shinde, Chairman and Managing Director of the Nashik-based FPO Sahyadri Farms, farmers’ collectives will increase their negotiation power with corporates. He said that farming must be done professionally and farmers must train themselves as entrepreneurs.

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Published on February 12, 2021
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