Keeping the contingency caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 in mind, the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh has introduced a Farmers’ Producers’ Organization (FPO) for supplying the fresh fruits and vegetables to the urbanites in Lucknow City, Uttar Pradesh. The initiative also aims at enhancing the farmers’ income by developing entrepreneurship. After conceptualizing the idea in the interest of farmers and to provide the fresh fruits and vegetables to the people of Lucknow during lockdown, Dr. A.D. Pathak, Director, ICAR-IISR opined for introducing an FPO that may focus on safeguarding the farmers’ interests as well as urban consumers in the present crisis.
To initiate the methodology to provide the Lucknowties with the fresh fruits and vegetables initiative, a WhatsApp Group with the help of KVK, ICAR-IISR scientists was created to involve a number of farmers of Lucknow District. The Institute encouraged Shri Mukesh to start supplying the fruits and vegetables daily from 1st April, 2020. For transporting fruits and vegetables from villages to Lucknow city, the scientists of KVK arranged a Covid-19 Vehicle Pass from the District Administration. Once the process began successfully, the consumers started sending their demands on WhatsApp group and Shri Mukesh Kumar started supplying these items by making packets family-wise as per the requirements of the respective consumers. The consumers were requested to collect the packets of fruits and vegetables from the Institute’s colony gate and make the payment cashless through Gpay, PayTM, Phone Pe and online banking, etc.
In the second phase of lockdown, the KVK, ICAR-IISR, Lucknow and Agriculture Department, Lucknow linked Shri Mukesh with a FPO - Navjyoti Farmers’ Producers’ Organization. Both Shri Mukesh Kumar and Shri Shiv Kumar jointly started marketing of fresh fruits and vegetables through mobile vehicles in different residential areas of Lucknow city. They purchased fresh fruits and vegetables daily from the member farmers’ fields of FPO and ensured its supply by putting the above items in baskets after proper grading and maintaining sanitization. They supplied fresh seasonal and exotic vegetables with seasonal fruits like watermelon, muskmelon, etc., daily at different places in Lucknow city. Both of them supply fresh fruits and vegetables to around 250 to 300 families daily. The process benefited producer farmers and urban consumers along with providing the employment opportunities to the youths.
The farmers were benefited for selling their produce without involvement of middle men at remunerative prices in this critical situation. Youths got a good source of their income and urban consumers were benefited by getting fresh fruits and vegetables in hygienic conditions at their door steps and that too at the genuine price.
Both of them purchase about 13.50 to 15.0 quintals of fresh fruits and vegetables from the FPO member farmers paying approximately Rs. 25,000/- to Rs. 30,000/- per day. On an average, they get gross return in the range of Rs. 31,000/- to Rs. 37,500/- per day. The total daily expenditure incurred on cost of fruits and vegetables purchase, wages of laborers, hiring of vehicle and other miscellaneous expenses, etc., which costs between Rs. 28,500/- and Rs. 33,700/- per day.
The system not only provides a net income of Rs. 2,500/- to Rs. 3,800/- per day to both the youths, but they have been able to provide the employment of 10 other youths of their village besides providing remunerative price to the farmers for their produce at their farms itself.
Now, being inspired by their success, the farmers from other villages too are coming forward to form such types of FPOs with the help of KVK, ICAR-IISR, Lucknow, so that they could also develop entrepreneurship for their income generation.
(Source: ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh)