Business Today

Budget 2018: Can govt help alleviate rural distress

Farmer producer organisations could help alleviate rural distress. Will the budget give them a boost?

It is a board meeting with a difference weather beaten farmers, seated in the village square in Aurangabad village in Uttar Pradesh's Sitapur district, sipping cups of tea. These are members of the local Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO), one of 800 in the country, set up under the auspices of the Small Farmers Agri business Consortium (SFAC), promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture and registered under the Companies Act. FPOs are a cross between cooperative societies and private limited companies, in which farmers come together to increase their bargaining power in the market.

The Aurangabad FPO's primary focus currently is honey collecting it from members within a 20 km radius, analysing, processing and selling it. A nearby shed houses the FPO's office, a small laboratory, a processing unit (still in the

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