FPO Bridging Gap in Supply Chain

By K.N.Radha

Gokulavedam Farmers Producer Company Limited in Govindawada village of Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh is a Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) to reckon. The FPO has once again proved that they aren’t deterred by the adversities including the novel Coronavirus pandemic that has severely hit the world.

The FPO affiliated farmers grow bananas. ICCOA and the Department of Horticulture initiated market linkages for the benefit of the FPO farmers in marketing of their produces. The FPO was formed in June 2019.

Usually, farmers sell their produces in a mandi or to middlemen during the peak season. But, to avoid commission agents and other extra handling, ICCOA and the State’s Department of Horticulture helped these farmers to directly sell their produce to Reliance Retail, a leading retail chain.

During these three months, the produce of 16 farmers was sold directly at farm gate (produce sold at the farmer’s field) to Reliance Retail. Each farmer’s produces amounted to approximately 80 tons of bananas of Grand Naine (G9) variety. G-9 variety is one of the most commonly cultivated Cavendish bananas in this region. It is a high yielding plant with long cylindrical fruits with less curvature. It has a high market value.

The produce was sold to Reliance Retail mainly during the period between March to May 2020. Adhering to the government’s strictures and taking all precautionary measures, ICCOA team went out of their way to help these farmers sell their produces, directly. The initiative hugely benefited the farmers while no transportation cost was incurred.

During the three months of March, April, and May, the market value of banana was Rs 2-3/kg whereas, the FPO farmers received a price of Rs 7/kg. Their produce totalled to nearly 1,300 tons. “Had there not been ICCOA’s intervention then we would have faced severe economic crisis as we would have faced difficulty in marketing the produces during the pandemic,” said B. Basappa M Manjunatha, one of the organic farmers in Andhra Pradesh.