Trichy: To enhance the standard of living of small and marginal farmers in the state, the agricultural department on Saturday formally launched farmers producers groups (FPG) in Trichy. Out of the targeted two lakh farmers to be brought under the scheme, a total of 22,700 have been identified in delta districts, including Trichy.
Out of 10,000 Farmer Interest Group (FIG) targeted to be formed across the state, 1,137 have been formed in Trichy, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts. A total of 227 farmers producers groups (FPG) have been created in the four districts out of 2,000 FPGs in the state.
Agricultural production commissioner and principal secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi said at the state-level seminar on collective farming held here on Saturday, that nearly 92% of operational holdings belongs to small and marginal farmers. There were about 81.18 lakh farm holdings of which 74.47 lakh holdings belong only to them.
"These farming communities have limited capacity to mobilise credit, adopt latest technologies and to add value to their agriculture produce, farm loans, value addition etc. They are also unable to market their produce at a remunerable price. This leads to reduction in the agricultural production of the state. In order to overcome all these hurdles, the concept of collective farming has been evolved by the government. This would help them have better access to loan facilities, modern technologies with forward and backward linkages for marketing," he added.
While explaining the benefits of collective farming, additional chief secretary (finance) K Shanmugam asked the farmers to come out of the fear that they may lose identity and boundary of their lands.
"Nothing will change on your holdings, but it will change your economy. When everything is in a state of uncertainty, it is important to switch over to the new programme. Otherwise, small and marginal farmers can never face the problems alone," he said.
He also called upon agriculture officials to take the benefits of collective farming to the farmers, so that no one would be left out. When farmers adopt collective farming, they have a chance to face various risks rising out of weather, price (of their produce) and reducing various expenses, he added.
Earlier, agriculture minister R Duraikannu formally launched the groups and distributed inputs to farmers. State ministers Vellamandi N Natarajan and S Valarmathi, commissioner of agriculture marketing and agri business SJ Chiru, director of horticulture and plantation crops Archana Patnaik, district collector K Rajamani, joint directors of agriculture departments and hundreds of farmers from across the 31 districts participated in the programme.