NABARD proposes north-south federation for farmers clubs


A reorganisation of all farmers clubs, in Goa, is in the offing under suggestions from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) which has asked them to group themselves under two federations- one each for north and south Goa.
Further, the apex bank for agricultural credit has also mooted the clubs going online to improve marketability of produce. For this, a website will be created that will contain all information on each club, viz the names of members, the crops they grow, quantity available for selling in the market, the price quoted, etc. It will help cultivators to market their harvest while getting a better price for it.
Speaking to The Navhind Times, Mr S D Kulkarni, general manager, said that although several of the clubs were collectively successful in growing vegetables, fruits and rice, they faced difficulties in marketing and did not earn money for their pains.
Therefore organising the clubs under a common umbrella which furnishes yield details to the website would be useful as consumers could log on to the site and place orders. To ensure the success of the website, Mr Kulkarni said that NABARD would take charge of the site, at least initially, by having a dedicated person to coordinate things, such as keying in of information and updating it daily.
He added that there was also a possibility of linking large buyers to the farmers clubs through the site, and the apex bank is working towards it. Thus it plans to ask hotels in the state to log on to the website for their daily requirements of local fruits and vegetables. The hotels could also place orders in advance, so that farmers begin large scale cultivation.
There are 82 farmers clubs in the state assisted by NABARD, of which 47 are active. Block level meetings are to be held to revive the dormant clubs and tackle their problems. Mr Kulkarni said that Department of Agriculture, Horticulture Development Corporation, banks as well as several farmers clubs have already been sounded out about the regrouping as well as the website, about 10 days back.
He pointed out that linkages between growers, buyers and the banks were necessary to make each farmers club work. Further financial assistance to the clubs through NABARD has been stepped up with each club entitled to `10,000 grant, per year, for a total period of three years.
Meanwhile close on the heels of `141.10 crore sanctioned to the state government under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) recently, an additional `100 crore is also in the pipeline under the scheme. It would bring the total sanctioned amount under RIDF to `241 crore for 2012-13 as against the target of `100 crore.
Mr Kulkarni said that RIDF fund off take remains slow because the state government is not able to begin infrastructure projects in time resulting in the lapse of the sanctioned amounts. For instance in the current year, viz 2012-13 only `18 crore of RIDF credit has been availed, although the sanction limit has been hiked to `241 crore. [NT]