International agencies to promote agribusiness in Kerala; global tender invited


Vinoy Mathew

The FPO will provide loans, seeds and farming equipment for the farmers. They will also help the farmers harvest and market the produce.

Kannur: The responsibility of forming societies of agricultural entrepreneurs in the state will be entrusted with agencies. Global tender has been invited for this purpose.

E-tender was invited by the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) which functions under the state agriculture department.

The agribusiness promoting agencies, which have proved their skills in international level, can apply for the same until November 10. The selected agency will be responsible for providing agricultural experts, advisers and technical experts for the agribusiness enterprises.

The agencies will give advice and guidelines regarding harvesting and marketing. Rs 21 lakh will be allotted for developing one such group. They aim to develop at least 50 societies in different districts. The estimated expense for the agency for 3 years is Rs 10.63 crore.

In the first phase, a community of farming enthusiasts with 10-20 members will be formed. Food Producers Organisation (FPO) is a federation of these communities. About 500-1000 farmers will be part of an FPO. The agencies will be responsible for developing the FPOs.

The FPO will provide loans, seeds and farming equipment for the farmers. They will also help the farmers harvest and market the produce. The tenure of an agency is for 3 years. As per plans, the state will be divided into five zones and each zone will be under the control of a respective agency.

The conditions in the tender prioritize the agencies which have an annual turnover of Rs 25 crore and above. The officials pointed out that the aim of the new move is to develop agribusiness ventures with the help of professional agencies.

However, many farmers raised suspicion that if this is an attempt to help the international agencies get direct access to the agriculture sector in Kerala at a time when there are enough agri experts in the state already.

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