Agri Business

Tata Cornell Institute, Walmart Foundation launch hub for FPOs in Delhi

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on September 01, 2021

This is to serve as a repository of learnings, information, and knowledge for the advancement of FPOs.

In a bid to empower India’s 125 million small farmers to take advantage of growing opportunities in the agricultural sector, the Tata-Cornell Institute (TCI) for Agriculture and Nutrition launched a hub for Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) within its Center of Excellence in New Delhi. The hub features a first-of-its-kind database of Indian FPOs.

Created with grant funding of $1 million from the Walmart Foundation, the Hub will serve as a repository of learnings, information, and knowledge for the advancement of FPOs in India, TCI said in a statement.

Small farms are disadvantaged when accessing markets, credit, and agricultural inputs such as seeds. By joining in FPOs, farmers work to jointly reduce costs and improve market access, helping to drive higher agricultural productivity, enhanced food security, and livelihood development.

Farmers have formed FPOs since the early 2000s. Though interest in promoting FPOs is high among philanthropic actors, corporations, and the government, many still have significant barriers to entry , including limited financing opportunities and the time required to become self-sufficient. In 2014, the Indian government began a renewed push to promote FPOs.

Crucial FPOs

“Farmer producer organizations are crucial for both improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and increasing the supply of diverse, nutritious foods that are increasingly in demand across India,” said Prabhu Pingali, director of TCI and professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

“Through the FPO hub, TCI aims to provide a foundation of data-based knowledge on top of which strong, effective FPOs can be built and sustained.”

A critical part of the hub is TCI’s Database for Indian FPOs, a new platform that gathers information on thousands of FPOs to facilitate research on small-farm aggregation models. TCI’s database is the only centralised source of data on Indian FPOs currently available. Through the interactive web-based dashboard, researchers can access a wealth of data on FPOs, such as crops produced, founding years, and sponsoring agencies. Ultimately, the data will allow researchers at the hub to formulate models to boost smallholder farmer income and welfare.

“Bringing together data on the over 4,400 FPOs in India will facilitate research aimed at developing strong, effective FPO models,” Pingali said.

Utilising an analytical, data-based approach, the hub will aid in the understanding, development, and promotion of effective farm-aggregation models and serve as a dissemination platform through which stakeholders can access information, technical help, and guidance.

“The Walmart Foundation is committed to helping improve livelihoods for smallholder farmers in India. With the grant funding to the TCI, we are meaningfully advancing research into FPOs, which serve as vital infrastructure for promoting market access and strengthening business and agricultural practices,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of philanthropy at Walmart Foundation. “With TCI’s expertise, the FPO hub will connect multiple institutions who are directly engaged in supporting farmers and farm aggregators to strengthen the agri-value chain.”

Published on September 01, 2021

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