Kargil got its first Farmers’Club, as NABARD inaugurated Trespone Farmer’s Club at Trespone TSG Block in the district.
What is Farmers’ Club (FCs) ?
- Farmers’ Clubs (FCs) are grassroot level informal forums of farmers.
- Such Clubs are organized by rural branches of banks with the support and financial assistance of NABARD for the mutual benefit of the banks concerned and the village farming community/rural people.
- With the enhancement of the programme, other agencies like NGO, VAs, KVKs, SAUs etc. are also now included as agencies included in the formation and promotions of FCs.
- The Farmers’ Clubs programme which was earlier known as “Vikas Volunteer Vahini (VVV) Programme” was launched by NABARD in 1982.
- The programme was directed towards development in rural areas through credit, technology transfer, awareness and capacity building.
- The “VVV Programme” was renamed as “Farmers’ Club Programme” in 2005 by revisiting its earlier mission.
What is the need of Farmers’ Clubs?
Around 60% of country’s population depends on agriculture which contributes18% to India’s GDP. The Tenth Five Year Plan and National Agriculture Policy documents envisage a growth level of 4% in Agriculture. However the growth of the sector has not been satisfactory with less than 2% growth in the last 50 years. To meet the targeted growth it is imperative improve productivity and reduce costs by improving efficiency. Keeping that in mind NABARD devised FCs strategy to provide package of initiatives for transfer of technology, improving input use efficiency, promoting investments in agriculture both in private and in public sectors and creating a favourable and conducive economic environment. The emerging needs in agriculture sector now are adoption of location specific skill and knowledge based technologies, promote greater value addition to agriculture produce, forge new partnerships between public institutions, technology users and the corporate sector, harness IT more effectively to realize financial sustainability and compete in the international market.
Who can form FCs?
- All Institutional Agencies (Commercial Banks, Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks) and all grassroot level organisations (NGOs, PRIs, State Agricultural Universities, KVKs, ATMA, Post Offices etc.) are eligible to form Farmers’ Clubs.
What are the functions of FCs?
The broad functions of the Farmers’ Clubs are:
- Coordinate with banks to ensure credit flow among its members and forge better bank borrower relationship,
- Organise minimum one meeting per month and depending upon the need, there would be 2-3 meetings per month. Non-members can also be invited to attend the meetings,
- Interface with subject matter specialists in the various fields of agriculture and allied activities etc., extension personnel of Agriculture Universities, Development Departments and other related agencies for technical know how upgradation. For guest lectures, even experienced farmers who are non members from the village/ neighbouring villages could be invited,
- Liaison with Corporate input suppliers to purchase bulk inputs on behalf of members,
- Organise/facilitate joint activities like value addition, processing, collective purchase of inputs and farm produce marketing, etc.; for the benefit of members. They can also sponsor / organise SHGs,
- Undertake socio-economic developmental activities like community works, education, health, environment and natural resource management etc.
- Market rural produce and products
How a bank is benefitted by opening FCs?
FCs concept is a win-win situation for both the banker and the borrower. As per a study, the following benefits were accrued to a bank branch operating FCs:
- Increase in deposits.
- Increase in the credit flow and diversification of lending.
- Generation of new business avenues.
- Increase in the recoveries and decline in the non-performing assets.
- Reduction in the transaction costs of financial institutions/ Banks.
- Socio economic development of the village.
- Besides these benefits to the banks, the Farmers’ Club has also been instrumental in certain social welfare measures like free eye check-up camp, Animal Health Care Camp, Mass vaccination camp, community works like road, check-dams, afforestation, etc.
- Enhancement in bargaining power for bulk purchase of inputs and marketing of their produce.
How NABARD supports FCs?
NABARD’s policy support for Farmers’ Club Programme lays stress on linking technologies with farmers’ club members and also facilitating market access through the following mechanism:
- Capacity building of members of Farmers’ Clubs including leadership training.
- Linkage with technology/markets
- Self Help Groups (SHGs)/Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) formation
- Forming Federations of Farmers’ Clubs/Producers’ Groups/Companies
Financial Support from NABARD
- NABARD also provides financial assistance of Rs.10,000/- per club per annum for a period of 3 years to all agencies irrespective of whether they are institutional or other agencies and also the region concerned.
What is the current status of FCs?
- During 2009-10, 16,590 Farmers’ Clubs have been formed taking the cumulative number of farmers’ Clubs to 54,805 as on 31st March 2010.